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Lightbox Loves: Cultural Codes Refresh 2024

the7stars has launched a refresh of their Cultural Codes research, analysing how Gen Z and Younger Millennials adapt to a changing 2024 landscape marked by a UK election, cost-of-living crisis, and the Olympics. The Cultural Codes is the7stars' unique way of understanding culture. We know how hard it is to predict how people will react – but what we can do is predict the cultural signals that will impact how they think, feel, and ultimately consume.

This year, we’ve seen a shift towards more inward-focused themes. Expressing personality outwardly is still important to our culture makers, but there is a sense that these drivers should come from within first and foremost before expressing it outwardly, to make a real lasting impact. We’ve seen people move from an outward, “we” approach to more of an inward “me”, as people move from feeling part of a large macro to many micro-communities.

the7stars previously identified nine codes that shaped both mainstream and emergent societal shifts. These codes needed a refresh for 2024 and as such two codes have become less prevalent this year and have been retired, whilst two new codes have been identified reflecting a more inner focus:

Zenthusiasts: Embrace a holistic approach to wellness through personalised technology. They seek a curated lifestyle to enrich their day-to-day, allowing physical, mental, and spiritual health to be considered.

1 in 2 Gen Z think that holistic health is more accessible these days due to social media.

Social Reclaimers: Prioritise mindful living and establish boundaries in different forms to take control of their experiences and live life on their terms. Researchers at Durham University found that people who engaged in “purposeful disconnection” felt they were living more mindfully and productively, with most regaining control via social media detoxing.

2 in 3 under-30s say they are making a conscious effort in 2024 to do more socialising that does not involve alcohol.

This research empowers brands to better engage Gen Z and Millennials through culturally relevant moments that resonate. You can find the full report here.