People Crave Authentic Human Connection More than Ever Says The Future 100 Report

In the new paradigm, the most successful and fastest-growing brands are connected brands, as people seek emotional engagement with the brands they buy from.

According to a new study, in a post-COVID world shaped by advancing technology, people are craving authentic human connection more than ever before.

The study, The Future 100: 2024, from VML takes in in 9,000 responses from consumers across the world, including Asia (China and India), Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico), the United States, and Europe (France and the United Kingdom) and lays out 100 trends set to shape consumer spending over the next year.

The report found that consumers are in their Slow Living era, known as ‘The Great Deceleration,’ slowing down their lifestyles and opting for a mindful approach to the year ahead.


 

According to VML, as humanity undergoes a paradigm shift with identity at its heart, advances in technology are ushering in a new reality and prompting people to question what it means to be human.

In the new paradigm, the most successful and fastest-growing brands are connected brands, as people seek emotional engagement with the brands they buy from.

Data collected for the report reveals that 79% of people believe ‘the role of a brand has changed over the past five years’, with the top three roles of brands to ‘make the world a better place’ (40%); ‘improve people’s health and wellbeing’ (38%); and ‘create a more positive and helpful future’ (32%).

“As 2024 unfolds, an intentional slowdown shifts the pace for people and businesses after years of rapid acceleration,” said Emma Chiu and Marie Stafford, Co-Authors and Global Intelligence Directors at VML.


 

“Community and connection at scale are essential to 2024, with 67% of people agreeing that community is more important than one individual and 76% believe that technology helps bring people together. With most consumers looking for surprise, mystery, awe, and wonder in their lives, new experiences that engage a wide spectrum of emotions are in demand. A profound and enriching year awaits!”

Community and connection at scale are essential to 2024, with 67% of people agreeing that community is more important than one individual and 76% believe that technology helps bring people together.”

“India’s Moment”

For the first time, the report highlights “Brand India”, as the country emerges as a new global powerhouse. Coined by the report as “India’s moment”, it says that “global brands, manufacturers, and consumers simply cannot ignore India as the domestic market and tech capabilities are growing at a turbo pace.”

The report adds that India’s progress and momentum is just getting started. EY predicts it will become the third-largest global economy by 2027.

VML noted that at a conference to announce a partnership with Reliance Industries and Tata Group, two of India’s largest conglomerates, Nvidia’s CEO Jensen Huang, said the country will be “one of the largest AI markets in the world”. Bain & Co. also predicts India’s domestic luxury market will “expand to 3.5 times today’s size by 2030,” as brands like Gucci, Cartier, and Louis Vuitton ramp up their Indian presence and get Indian actors as global brand ambassadors.

“While economic growth is an important marker of progress, the combination of talent, technology, and grassroot innovation is what is creating something much larger for India; a positive Zeitgeist that is making this more than a ‘Moment’ and converting this into a tectonic ‘Movement'”, said Babita Baruah, CEO – VML India.

“One that sees brands and businesses looking to reinvent the experiences and solutions that they deliver to an increasingly discerning, demanding but also rewarding generation of consumers. At its core is integration – blending intelligent content, personalised experiences, data, technology, commerce, and India’s famous emotive storytelling – to create richer and more rewarding experiences for consumers, brands, and businesses.”

10th Year of  Future 100

To celebrate the 10-year milestone and bring the report to life, VML will launch F.L.I.C (Future. Learning. Interactive. Connected.), a fully interactive AI avatar that can answer real-time questions about the report.

Using Epic Metahuman, VML created a photo-realistic face for F.L.I.C and chose longstanding technology partner Odyssey to stream this Unreal Engine 5 based-app to users. The proprietary technology, which is exclusive to Odyssey, creates virtual personifications to give a face to AI, and allows clients to access and interact with F.L.I.C directly through their web-browser. F.L.I.C will go live on 6 February 2024 to coincide with live Future 100: 2024 launch events in London and New York.

Naomi Troni, Global Chief Marketing Officer at VML said: “The Future 100 is one of our most anticipated reports, and this year is no exception. With humans craving ‘passion and togetherness’ – particularly as we see AI becoming more and more mainstream – the time is right for brands to tap into this shift, and use technology to connect with humans on a deeper level as they opt for a more mindful approach for the year ahead.”


The Future 100 covers 10 sectors including Culture, Technology, Travel & Hospitality, Brands & Marketing, Food & Drink, Beauty, Retail, Luxury, Health, and Innovation. You can download the report here.

Credits

Authors: Emma Chiu and Marie Stafford, Global Directors, VML Intelligence
Writers: Emily Safian Demers, John O’Sullivan, Nina Jones
Sub Editors: Hester Lacey, Katie Myers
Creative Director: Shazia Chaudhry
Cover: Peach Fuzz, Pantone Color of the Year 2024 – courtesy of The Development x Almost Studios
Fonts Used: Clone Rounded Latin; Dystopian; Snowflake Sans

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