The Luxury Report:
Redefining The Future
Meaning Of Luxury.
The recent global social, economic and political events have rewritten the rules of luxury for good. Traditional luxury brands are finding it difficult to adjust to this altered reality as the new normal. But all is not lost. Luxury brands can respond to these new threats and challenges by learning how to navigate the invisible streams of Culture.
This report explores how the five key cultural shifts are reshaping the global face of luxury today and how embracing the new emergent meaning of luxury can help brands regain cultural relevance, transform value and drive meaningful growth in the 21st century.
Dr. Martina Olbert is the world's leading expert on creating meaning and cultural relevance in business. She is the Founder & CEO of Meaning.Global, a global strategy and cultural intelligence consultancy helping brands come back to essence and restore meaning: the core value in business. As a writer, speaker, strategist and cultural consultant, she educates brand and business leaders on how to be culturally savvy and capitalise on culture change, rather than being affected by it to create new value, relevance and growth.
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Hello and Welcome to
The Luxury Report!
The world of luxury is changing beyond recognition and it’s harder for brands to remain relevant today. This is twice as true for the luxury brands whose very existence is tied to their cultural and symbolic value. When brands are at odds with Culture, they can lose their value even if their legacy stays strong. This affects the luxury and premium sector far more than any other category simply because they have a lot more to lose. Meaning decides whether the brand thrives, plummets or faces unforeseen challenges.
Luxury is all about meaning: the very essence of luxury is based on the inflation of its symbolic value over the functional value of its goods and services. Luxury costs more simply because it means more. This is why luxury brands can no longer take their past prominence for granted and instead need to look for new avenues of relevance, value and growth in better alignment with the Culture.
As the new markets are opening up, new media and technologies are entering our lives and a whole new generation of luxury consumers is emerging who think, act and connect in ways that could not have been predicted even a few years ago, luxury is being pushed to diversify and find a new role and relevance in our lives. Brands who seize this opportunity will enjoy impressive growth. Those that ignore it will continue to struggle.
Interestingly, the current political and economic turmoil across the world that we are facing today brings not only challenges but also a lot of opportunities. But it's up to brands to learn to navigate their place in the Culture and respond to these changes proactively, rather than being passively affected by them. Heritage brands are especially sensitive to the changing cultural environment as their very essence is tied to their culture of origin. They need to rise above the clutter and define new ways to express their cultural essence – which is tied to their brand value – to attract new and existing customers in culturally relevant ways.
“Revitalising luxury brands means redefining the very essence of luxury to match the needs and expectations we have today. We need to redefine what luxury stands for and what it means to people living in the 21st century to help luxury brands regain their sense of relevance, restore value and drive meaningful growth to boost brand valuation and equity.”
The Luxury Report will help you better navigate the fast-changing waters of global culture and understand what actionable steps you can take to turn your brand into a cultural icon.
The report itself should serve as a practical guide to help luxury brand managers better manage their brands in the shifting context of culture and turn its invisible power into visible brand results to create new relevance in the luxury sector today. My goal with this report was to offer the much-needed context behind the current shifting cultural climate and equip brands with the actionable steps to capitalise on culture change and counteract the erosion that's happening to their meaning and brand value.
The interpretation is what's often missing in the industry reports that we read today. This is why this report is focused not on luxury data statistics, but on the larger cultural interpretations behind the data we already have. Without understanding what the shifting streams of culture mean, it is impossible to understand the real-world implications of any data that we gather. Context is where the value is. To champion Culture, you have to understand what it's telling you and what this information means for your brand's future.
The current social and political discourse is full of conversations on 'taking our power back' and 'taking back control', but this is not possible to do without understanding the larger implications of the changing cultural foundations of the world we live in. By understanding how to navigate culture effectively, brands can regain their power and become the true masters of their destiny.
In this report, I look at the five key cultural shifts to help luxury brands create new relevance for the emerging global generation of consumers today. Whatever area of luxury a brand operates in these are core principles you simply can’t afford not to be aware of.
I would love to talk to you about how these 5 cultural shifts might affect your luxury brand specifically and what the hidden opportunities are in terms of strategy, culture and experience to help you create relevance and value for your diverse audiences.
To find out more or discuss how these shifts apply to your own brand challenges at the moment, please get in touch to arrange
an introductory call or a meeting to book your consultation.
I will be looking forward to hearing from you.
Dr. Martina Olbert
Founder & CEO, Meaning.Global
What's inside the report?
5 KEY CULTURAL SHIFTS REDEFINING THE FACE OF GLOBAL LUXURY TODAY:
From Luxury Goods To Empowering New Identities And Lifestyles
From Personal Luxury To Personalised Experiences
From Excess, Rarity And Opulence To The Everyday Luxury Essentialism
From Heritage And Legacy To Seeking New Relevance
From Luxury Consumption To Catalysts Of Culture Change
Consumer habits are undergoing a rapid change today as the new generation of consumers focuses on expressing their own individuality rather than ownership. The consumption of luxury is becoming less and less about the luxury brands themselves and more about empowering people to become more of who they are. This shift pushes luxury brands to be the active agents in their customers’ identity creation, which goes far beyond the traditional limits of luxury branding. It reverses the industry dynamic from aspiring to own brands to empowering people and their individual identities.
We are moving away from the tangible aspects of personal luxury to the intangibles –– the unique and personalised experiences that have the potential to better and transform our lives. Today, globalisation and mass production mean that more people can afford to own more things than ever before. But the more we can buy, the less it means to us.
The new generation is in the active search for meaning. These savvy consumers came to adulthood in the world of ’sharing economy’, where direct access to utility overtakes the idea of aspirational ownership.
The unaffordability of the traditional big milestones of adult life further shifts focus towards experiencing the most in the here and now.
Luxury used to be reserved for ‘best.’ Rare and special things, treated with awe and kept carefully aside for special occasions. But a rising tide of affluence, combined with the rise of ‘always-on’ social media and 24-hour internet shopping, means that our access to luxury has become more democra-tised. The result is that more of us desire luxury to be
a part of our daily lives, especially as the meaning of luxury diversifies. In the age of market oversatu-ration, the new savvy consumers are becoming more of shopping connoisseurs as they look for premium quality to meet and satisfy their own essential needs. To become essential, luxury brands need to create meaningful value in people’s lives.
Around the world, people are less and less willing to respect established brands and institutions just because they have a long-standing legacy. The past is no longer here. The key to the heart of a new luxury consumer is personal relevance. In today’s world, no brand has an eternal right to claim its luxury status, which is why no brand can afford to rest on its laurels. To be relevant today, every luxury brand must constantly look for new and refreshing ways to contextualise the old within the new. Luxury brands need to bring the story of their heritage, craft and legacy within the cultural context of today to appeal to the new generation of customers.