VML: consumers want brands to ‘make the world better’

9,000 people were surveyed for the 10th edition of The Future 100

In 2024, a ‘great deceleration’ for people and businesses will occur after years of rapid acceleration, according to the 10th edition of VML Intelligence’s The Future 100 report.

VML Intelligence surveyed 9,000 people across Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, France, India, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States, to create a snapshot of the top 100 trends to watch for the year ahead.

The report found that people are craving authentic human interaction more than ever before, with people encouraged to ‘slow down to better reconnect with themselves and others.’

‘Even Gen Zers are fatigued by fast-moving trends on social media that are impossible to keep up with and opting for Luddite mode as a coping mechanism.’ wrote Emma Chiu and Marie Stafford, Global Directors for VML Intelligence.

What’s in store for brands

According to the report, 79% of people agree that the role of a brand has changed over the past five years with 40% believing the role of a brand should be to ’make the world a better place.’ Additionally, two-thirds of people globally want brands to help them ‘feel intense emotions.’

Consumers also want brands to dial up the humour. After years of serious advertising to tackle purpose and pandemic, VML Intelligence data also reveals that the number one reason that people are more likely to purchase from a brand is if it brings them a sense of joy.

Tech and community

The report also found that community and connection are essential to 2024, with mass collective shared experiences taking place around the world. Technology also plays a pivotal role in connection with 67% of people agreeing that community is more important than one individual and 76% believe that technology helps bring people together.

With 2023 allowing more access to AI, 2024 will show ‘governance, creativity, and philosophical thinking’ as people question what it means to be human at a time when advances in tech are leading to very lifelike digital personas.


The year ahead will also see people crave more mystery, surprise, awe, and wonder, prompting them to make new experiences that engage a wide spectrum of emotions, as 91% of people want to feel more emotion in their lives.

71% of people globally agree that loneliness is an epidemic and 66% say there is no sense of community anymore. The report suggests that there is a growing opportunity for brands to engineer collective experiences that promote connection and community at scale with friends and strangers alike

Radha Agrawal, founder of mass morning dance event Daybreaker told VML: The biggest opportunity that brands have is getting people to connect with each other—how this brand can serve a community as a collective rather than the individual inside the community.’

Featured image: Nitish Meena / Unsplash

Grace Gollasch, Content and Social Media Editor at MediaCat Magazine

Grace relocated from Australia to London in July 2023, joining the MediaCat Magazine team in September 2023. Before making the move, Grace spent a year and a half at Mediaweek, Australia’s largest media trade publication, where she was a journalist and social media manager.

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MediaCat is an online publication exploring marketing and media change. We focus on brands, the environments where they operate, and the industries that serve them, reporting on ideas, trends, and perspectives. Delving into modern brand experiences, evolving media landscapes, emerging forms of insight, the dynamic world of commerce, forces of transformation in organisations and markets, and the drivers of social impact, we aim to guide professionals navigating a brave new world.

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