We first identified the trend we call The New Morality back in 2012. The term describes how the experience of the economic crash and subsequent recession fundamentally re-shaped consumer values and created several sub-trends:

  • The Self-Preservation Society: a shift away from consumer interest in global issues and towards concern about the local and the personal
  • C-Suite Scrutiny: a transformation of the pre-cash corporate social responsibility agenda away from the established ‘ethical consumption’ agenda, with a new focus on corporate governance and probity
  • The Death of Deference: at the turn of the Millennium it was common to talk of the Decline of Deference towards brands and institutions. It is now more accurate to talk of the Death of Deference, an extreme and more challenging form of the earlier trend

The New Morality trends have played out to spectacular effect in the intervening years, not least in the major political upheavals of 2016. Five years on from its first appearance, we looked at where The New Morality will head next. The implications for brands and branding are fundamental and, potentially, existential.