Global Trends about Polarization: A Divided World
We share so many of the same values, but feelings of division persist
The pandemic was (we hope) a rare event. It could have united the world against a common enemy. Instead, forces worked to drive and expand wedges between people in many nations about precautions and vaccines. The global Black Lives Matter movement also exposed rifts and divisions in a push for equality, a value we as global society mostly share. Nations taking sides in the war in Ukraine, coupled with tensions between the U.S. and China, point to a new world disorder, with power shifting and new literal and metaphorical battlegrounds emerging.
The polycrisis is both a driver and a result of our new world disorder. The existence of disagreements on multiple fronts – from the climate to human rights, immigration to fiscal policy, gender fluidity to data privacy, and around the ethics of artificial intelligence and synthetic biology – means that it’s hard to build a coalition to solve any of them.
Sometimes the fault lines are clear. Sometimes new factions align in non-traditional ways on one issue while warring on others.
The technology and tools that connect us are also able to drive us apart. Headlines highlight divisions between us every time we log on.
At the same time, people are looking to brands to play a role in solving these crises, and to help them reach their individual goals on issues like sustainability. They want brands that share their values. But many of the issues that brands could take a stand on are fraught with danger, so it's hard for brands to make the meaningful changes their customers want – because not all of their customers want the same things.
Yet, fundamentally, we share so many values. We see that in the data, again and again. We get caught up in the expression and implementation of those values, but that leaves room for hope that the forces dividing our world could also help to bring it together.
There is global consensus over the right to self-determination
Explore the trends
Our report tells a story from the topline data. For technical details, please see the full methodology. For a deeper dive into demographic differences, regional analysis and sector- or market-specific insights please contact us for a custom analysis of this incredibly rich data source.
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