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When working with luxury brands on their future strategies, I recommend first observing how our lives are changing and what impact these changes have had on the product categories people use. One of the results of the pandemic that we have been able to measure with consumer sentiment data is that people around the world are now valuing their quality of life more than ever.

As a result, people are meeting more using Zoom, doing more work from home or anywhere they choose, at least on some days of the week, and spending less time commuting. For the first time, many people are opening up about mental health issues and seeking solace in an experience that helps them soothe, decompress, and improve sleep, to name a few. And our data could also show that, particularly in China and Japan, more body-positive living has led to more individualized approaches to health, wellness, fashion, diet, and lifestyle choices. way of life.

When we travel, we look for more comfortable equipment. Backpacks have never been a luxury category. But over the past three to five years, they’ve become one of the fastest growing categories for luxury brands. Tote bags are becoming more ubiquitous than ever. Sneakers are the new jewelry, allowing both comfort and self-expression. Traditionally functional categories, such as portable speakers or headphones, become seasonal fashion items that express a mood or moment and are carefully selected to complete a look.

Today, the rapid proliferation of NFTs will change both the real estate sector and the hospitality industry. Because when art becomes digital – and therefore easy to share and transport – many people will want to show it in different contexts. Many high-end real estate projects are already swapping traditional art for high-definition screens that rotate from vertical to horizontal, allowing them to display the NFT blockchain along with the digital artwork. Someone who owns a valuable piece of digital art may also want to admire it in a hotel suite or on their car screen, bringing new technological disruption to categories that have traditionally taken time. adapt to digital technology.

Another change is that our lives have never been more public than they are today. Many, especially Gen Z, live a life where every move they make is documented and shared. They were the first generation, especially in China, to grow up when social media and social shopping became fully integrated into their lives. Therefore, we buy based on recommendations from peers and key opinion leaders (KOLs). Many Gen Zers describe their biggest challenge as keeping up with their social network and creating enough content for their channels. Therefore, concerns about the image that is conveyed on social media drive many decisions, including where to go on vacation to get the perfect posts and stories. Many services around the world offer hourly sneaker, handbag or fashion rentals or photo opportunities on a yacht or private jet – all to help young people organize the pictures.

The impact of self-image building on social media will dramatically increase over the next decade as Gen Z and young millennials become the most influential luxury consumer group in the world. As such, global luxury brands need to think differently by recalibrating their focus on brand curation and storytelling and how they fit into the lives of these consumers. When consumers use brands to shape their image, they consider more than traditional luxury values ​​like “quality” and “craftsmanship”. In luxury, these will always remain important. However, they are not enough to win in the new game of luxury.

Luxury consumers want to dive into inspiration, especially the youngest, who are looking for brands that tell a specific story that speaks to them. The brand’s story is decisive in the creation of value for the consumer. These include social, environmental and cultural factors. Unsurprisingly, in line with the changing expectations of young consumers, sustainability and social awareness have become essential. Consumers expect much more cultural influence from their brands.

When consumers want brands to represent who they are, it becomes a matter of survival for brands to understand this information. To achieve this, some of the most advanced luxury brands are already using artificial intelligence technologies to create a snapshot of consumer sentiment and preferences. It is especially important to discover the rapidly changing desires of today’s highly dynamic and fast-paced competitive environment.

Going forward, the metaverse will add further complexity to this need and force brands to be clear about who they are and what they stand for. A brand’s storytelling will need to move from nonsensical babble, where everyone is telling the same category story, to an easy-to-understand, highly differentiated story about how it creates value for consumers. Consumers want to understand how a brand can fundamentally change their lives, especially in luxury.

Soon, the uniqueness and authenticity of brands will be much more important than today, now that consumers use them to create an organized self-image. If a brand doesn’t have the freshness factor customers expect, is exchangeable with other brands, or doesn’t feel authentic, it can’t support them in their curation efforts. As a result, brands need to define themselves through the eyes of consumers. When I look at most brand positions from our audits, most of their definitions are interior-centric. The consumer is often absent – a mistake today that will be deadly tomorrow.

The uniqueness and authenticity of brands will be much more important than they are today, now that consumers are using brands to maintain their self-image.

This is an opinion piece which reflects the views of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of Jing Daily.

Daniel Langer is CEO of the luxury, lifestyle and consumer brand strategy firm Equityand the executive professor of luxury strategy and extreme value creation at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He consults with some of the biggest luxury brands in the world, is the author of several luxury management books, a global keynote speaker and organizes luxury masterclasses in Europe, the United States and Asia. To follow @drlanger