We are a global strategy & cultural intelligence
consultancy reconnecting brands and businesses
with meaning and human essence.
Without meaning at the core, brands and businesses lose their value, market share, customer relationships and cultural relevance fast. The warning often comes in ways that are invisible. But, it's hard to manage and measure something you can't see. This is where we come in.
We reconnect brands with meaning and core value
We focus on these 3 Core Pillars:
Learn more about how we want to restore meaning in business.
What is a meaningful brand?
Meaningful brand is a brand that adds meaningful value to our lives. It knows and understands its audience, who they are, what their needs are, how they express themselves and what its role is in their lives. It cares about what they care about. It is authentic: true to its essence, function and purpose in people's lives, to its heritage and legacy. It doesn't make empty promises but stays true to itself, to its inner core values and integrity.
What is meaningful business?
Meaningful business is a business designed consciously to create value in people's lives. It's not in the business of generating profit as the core value; it creates core value to generate profit. The fact that we've reversed the logic and alienated people from the value they create is why we are where we are today. We've created a business ecosystem of meaninglessness. Learn more about how we can change this to create value again.
What is meaningful luxury?
Meaningful luxury comes back to our spirit and human essence. Through its connection to beauty, aesthetics, the aura of symbolism and the intangibles, it has the power to uplift our senses, transcend the present moment and speak directly to our soul. It elevates the quality of our lives based on the values we share and what we see as valuable to us today. Learn more about how we can put meaning and essence back into luxury.
Why we need to reconnect business with meaning
Meaning crisis. We have a meaning crisis going on. The world around us doesn't make sense anymore as culture and society develop much faster than the business world can catch up with. Count in greater cultural complexity, digital connectedness and technological disruption. This creates the cultural irrelevance of many things we see around us today. When we cannot rely on what things mean, we don’t know how to navigate our way in the world. We don’t know how to create value. This is a big problem for brands and businesses because this symbolic connection to the world we live in – to the vital cultural context in which businesses are embedded – is the cornerstone of their value and profitability.
Spiritual crisis. The second crisis relates to our humanity. The COVID pandemic has revealed weak links in our culture and society and cast light on what’s long been missing from our lives, but we were too busy to pay attention to – and that something is meaning. We are going through a profound psycho-spiritual crisis which is reflected in the meaninglessness of the Western culture and what our lives have become. By fully embracing the consumer culture, our lives have become devoid of meaning. We have everything we need materially, but things don’t mean as much to us personally anymore. The more we can buy the less it means to us. We feel empty and unfulfilled inside. What we lack are spiritual sustenance and symbolic meaning. We are starved out for real meaning in our lives: for human connections, lasting values and things, moments and experiences we can care about. We need to shift our perspective from the disposable culture to value culture. From conspicuous consumption to meaningful consumption. From things to experiences. From the tangibles to the intangibles. The return to meaning is the biggest human shift in the 21st century.
The Human–Business Alignment. 2020 was the Year of Awakening. Thanks to the rapid change in lifestyle and a global pause, we have come to terms with what we were missing: our neglected human needs. We are now taking a 180° turn as a society and collectively coming back to our spirituality. Back to the core values, back meaning and our human essence. To reawaken our lost senses, rediscover who we are and what is truly important in our lives. And since we are going to be doing this for some time now, brands and businesses need to make sure they can evolve with us to stay relevant, desirable and profitable and create authentic value that adds meaning to our lives. This means that strategy needs to shift focus from brands themselves to people, to create real value that elevates the quality of our everyday lives. When brand essence meets human essence in the context of our ever-evolving needs, true magic happens. We are now stepping into the age of authenticity where the most important connection is to ourselves – to what gives us meaning. We no longer care as much about making impressions on other people, what we care about is to live as the highest and most authentic expressions of ourselves. Brands that can help us express and maximize our human potential will be successful.
Meaning economy. The 21st-century economy is the economy of meaning. Meaning is the core value in business which it's quickly becoming the new most valuable business currency. People value meaning – the symbolic aura of things based on the values, feelings, beliefs and desires they can identify with on a personal level. In short, what they value is personal relevance. It's this invisible net of signification, culture and meaning that decides if brands will be successful or not. The world we live in is symbolic. Everything can be reduced to signs and symbols and everything that communicates means something. And if you don't know what it means, you cannot create long-term value for your customers. Brands and businesses are living dynamic ecosystems of cultural meaning. We don’t buy brands; we buy what they represent. We consume what they mean to us. Their value is interdependent – it is tied to society, culture, politics, health, security and our happiness. To create long-term value, we need to see brands holistically, in context, as living ecosystems of meaning.
New strategy for the new world. The old normal is gone and the new normal is nowhere to be seen yet. We are now entering a time of Great Change. This gives us a unique opportunity to rethink the way we do things for the better. COVID urges us to pause, reflect and do the inner alignment work. If brands can do the same, come back to their essence and realign their strategy, they will be one step closer to riding the wave of change, rather than falling a victim to it.
About us. Meaning.Global was founded in 2017 with a vision to offset the meaning crisis across the industry by helping brands and businesses understand the destabilizing symbolic foundations of the world we live in and offer the missing piece of social and cultural knowledge to create a more meaningful and contextualised strategy.
What we do. We partner with brands and businesses to reconnect with meaning and human essence and unlock their real authentic value in people's lives – one they can identify with as human beings. We want to help drive the world of business and brands back to its real purpose: to adding meaningful value to people's lives. Because business value is a human value.
Welcome to Meaning.Global: Meaningful Strategy For The Age of Humanity
How Can We Work Together?
We believe in collaboration and having meaningful conversations with people that can spark interest and lead us to new ideas and insights to create new value. We don't believe in selling services. Because businesses aren't machines. They are living organisms in a constant need to adapt to their environments to make sure that the value they create for people is relevant, desirable and useful.
Every business is different and every brand has a different essence so the ready-made products and solutions cannot possibly generate value that would be truly meaningful and unique to your brand. We prefer to collaborate with our clients to generate new ideas, breakthrough insights and innovations that can add real meaning to people's lives. Value creation is a creative and collaborative process.
If you see it the same way, we'd love to talk to you.
Strategic Consulting &
Strategic consulting, advisory, problem-solving
Are you perplexed at how quickly everything is changing in this COVID pandemic, how the old ways are no longer working and how to steer your business, brand, strategy towards the new world to be successful again? We can help you understand how the newly emerging shifts are impacting your business, brand and the value you create for your customers. We will advise you on the right strategy moving forward and guide you through the process to create new solutions, new value and new meaning.
Brand, Business &
Brand meaning, values, meaningful storytelling
Making sure that your brand or a business can create real value essential to our human needs that adds authentic meaning to people's lives has become paramount in this new post-COVID world. We can help you diagnose, align and restrategize your brand both internally and externally to deliver real value to your customers. The best brands are those that inspire us to maximize our human potential, express who we are to the world, meet our own essential needs and connect with us through values we identify with.
Strategic Brand &
Meaning and Culture: Workshops & Frameworks.
Strategic foresight, cultural insight, brand audit
The world was already changing fast pre-COVID and now the pandemic has ushered us into a new world of great change. Are you finding it difficult to navigate this new global cultural climate, social changes and evolving human needs and how they are impacting your brand and business? Your brand needs a cultural alignment. We can help you explore how the cultural codes of today redefine your brand and business relevance in the eyes of your customers so that you know how to capitalize on this great social and cultural change, instead of falling a victim to it.
Workshops, learning and cultural frameworks
Knowledge-building and continuously learning how to apply new thinking to brands and businesses have become an absolute necessity in this new world. Brands need to stay culturally relevant and engaging to their audiences. But without the ability to cultivate the necessary expertise to create new meaning and cultural relevance internally, brands won't be successful. We will help you develop this new knowledge to share with your teams, build internal cultural strategy frameworks and oversee the implementation. We can work you with wherever you are in the world.
Thought Leadership &
Keynotes, Guest Lectures & Speaking.
Opinion pieces, articles, reports, books, journals
Are you interested in a new provocative thought piece on the next generation of consumers, emerging cultural and social shifts and how they're redefining the world of brands, business and consumerism? If you are a book publisher, magazine, news source, academic journal editor or a consultancy looking to do syndicated research for your next big report, let us know. Dr. Martina Olbert, Founder and CEO of Meaning.Global, regularly writes, publishes and is featured in leading global media publications, such as Forbes, BBC, Vogue Business, Luxury Daily, WARC, Eluxe, Branding Strategy Insider and many other media titles. Her insights and foresights on the state of brands, business, consumers and luxury appear in client and industry reports.
See the latest articles, interviews and reports here.
Talks, keynotes, lectures, podcasts, interviews
The future of business is headed towards humanity and the search for meaning that we seem to have lost in our lives. If you're interested in this topic, email us below about booking availability for Dr. Martina Olbert to speak at your next event. Martina's core focus is on Meaningful Brands, Meaningful Business and Meaningful Luxury. She is a global keynote speaker regularly speaking at leading industry events and conferences around the world. Her speciality is navigating the global emerging cultural & social shifts, explaining what they mean, and what is the impact they have on brands, businesses and customers in the fast-changing world today.
To see the latest talks and upcoming events, click here.
Most Recent Projects
The Future Of Luxury Fashion:
'The Luxury Identity Crisis'
Meaning.Global Founder Dr. Martina Olbert had a great opportunity to contribute to the new and insightful report on The Future Of Luxury Fashion published by the Belgian social impact agency The PowerHouse.
Published in June 2021, this report is full of fresh perspectives on the future of luxury fashion told through the eyes of the new generation of luxury fashion professionals, experts, futurists, managers, influencers, trendsetters, designers and creators.
This report includes contributions from the Head of Luxury at TikTok, Galleries Lafayette, Vogue Business, Sciences Po, Euromonitor, Digital Luxury Group and many more. Great group of people to be a part of and navigate the future of luxury and fashion with.
Rich, insightful, full of young perspectives on what the future of luxury fashion holds – from the next generation of luxury experts for the next generation of luxury consumers.
You can read our article inside on pages 45–48.
The Luxury Report:
'Redefining The Future Meaning Of Luxury'
What do the recent shifts across culture and society mean for the future of luxury?
How and why is the meaning of luxury changing in the 21st century?
What does luxury mean to the new global consumer today?
The Luxury Report explores how the big 5 cultural shifts are redefining the very meaning of luxury today. In response, it offers 5 strategic actions that luxury brands can take right now to create authentic meaning, new value and cultural relevance for the new generation of brand-savvy luxury consumers.
Global luxury has changed beyond recognition. Luxury brands are facing a lot of new challenges today. As a result, they are struggling to accept this redefined global reality as their new normal.
Cultural irrelevance is one of the key reasons why global brands struggle to retain their value today. This is especially important for luxury and heritage brands as their value is tied to their symbolic and cultural value.
When meaning structures get destabilised, brand value gets eroded which causes volatility. All is not lost, but winning requires gaining a new type of knowledge. Understanding how cultural shifts are changing the very essence of the luxury business is key for luxury brands to remain relevant and profitable.
To restore the core value and essence of luxury, we need to redefine what luxury means to people today to match our fast-changing needs and values in the 21st century.
What Is The Value Of Meaning In Business?
These are some of our latest published articles, opinion pieces, features, interviews and podcasts on the role of meaning and cultural relevance in luxury, branding, marketing and business strategy. They deal with meaning from multiple perspectives: from value creation and brand growth, creative ideas, brand strategy, campaigns, storytelling and design, to shifts in culture and the need to explore how brands and technology reshape our society to humanise business and nudge social change.
THE FUTURE OF LUXURY
EYEWEAR IN INDIA
VIDEO INTERVIEW | JULY 2021
The Future Of Luxury Eyewear with Optician India Magazine
Meet The Founder
Martina's work and insights are regularly featured in global media publications, industry reports, at corporate events and leading global conferences:
Founder & CEO
Dr. Martina Olbert is the world's leading expert on meaning and cultural relevance in business. She is a brand advisor, cultural strategist, consumer psychologist and social scientist on a mission to redefine the role of meaning in business. As an author, global keynote speaker and teacher, she educates brand and business leaders on how to be culturally savvy and read the early signals of change and what they mean to create more value and relevance for the customers today.
Martina is most interested in social and cultural change. She focuses on how the shifts in society redefine the perception of meaning our culture and where the value for brands shifts next. She helps clients navigate the fast-changing socio-cultural context in the world to understand how to capitalize on cultural change. She gives expert advice to some of the top consumer, corporate, luxury and lifestyle brands in the world. She helps brands reconnect with meaning and human essence to resonate with people's rapidly evolving needs today. Her goal is to bridge the gap between brands and people to drive meaningful growth, long-term value and offset the ongoing meaning crisis stunting real value in the industry.
As a strategy consultant with 15+ years of international experience from the USA, UK, Ireland and Czechia, Martina has worked on diverse strategy, insight and innovation briefs for global corporate brands (Kantar, ICAEW, GroupM, British Land), consumer brands (Unilever, Heineken, Pernod Ricard), tech & telco brands (IBM, Vodafone), banking & finance (KBC, Visa, Lloyds Bank, Bank of Ireland), travel (London Gatwick), medical (MedBooker, Lexum) and luxury brands.
She holds a doctorate in Media Studies from Charles University in Prague, and also studied at Georgetown University (USA) and the University of Glamorgan (UK). As a visiting lecturer, she taught Semiotics & Cultural Branding at Trinity College Dublin and spoke at conferences and events in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Milan, Toronto, Istanbul, Manila, Shanghai, Prague, Berlin, Slovenia, India and Morocco.
Martina is a contributing author to Branding Strategy Insider, a commentator for Forbes, Luxury Daily, Vogue Business, Luxury Society, WARC, ELUXE Magazine, and author of The Luxury Report on Redefining The Future Meaning Of Luxury.
She is passionate about social progress, humanising businesses, the human mind, perception, cognition, meaning-making, mindset shift, transforming human consciousness and all things culture. She is based in Europe and available for strategy consulting, speaking and workshops worldwide.
Upcoming Talks and Latest Events
THE CONSUMER RESET
June 2021 | LONDON, UK
WEBINAR | THE COLLECTIVE
The Great Consumer Reset: What Is The Future Of Brands?
What People Have Said
"Martina is the world's leading authority on brand meaning. There's no one better to address what all the changes the world, consumers and brands are experiencing mean. Every time I talk with her, it is an eye-opening experience. Amazing insights and understanding."
Vice Chairman, Ogilvy Group UK
Founder, Beyond Words Documentaries
"She is an intellectual powerhouse."
Creator, This Human Business
"Martina is a rare person in business who is capable of seeing beyond the problems of the moment to grasp the underlying thematic issues that have led to the development of those problems in the first place."
Head of Planning, Geometry, WPP
"Martina is one of the best planning minds in the business."
Culture & Strategy, Hilton Barbour
"Martina is a vibrant and unapologetic breath of fresh air. Her passion for branding, semiotics and the future of business is unparalleled. She has made me think in new ways and has elevated my own brand work."
President, Golden Drum Festival
"Martina has made a change in the industry so we can talk today about Meaningful Brands, Meaningful Business and Meaningful Luxury. Thank you."
Researcher, luxury author, Forbes.com columnist
Publisher, Branding Strategy Insider
"One of the marketing leaders shaping a better world through brand."
Lifestyle Expert, Transformational Travel
"Martina is a true visionary. Fiercely intelligent, deeply spiritual and possessing a 360-degree view of humans, she is able to see the fundamental nature of human motivations for consumption. She is a revolutionary thought leader whose comments, ideas and insights are one of the few sources that actually matter."