At Join the Dots we believe that to be successful brands need to embrace happiness. Brands must go a step further from communicating a happy feeling, to actually delivering happiness. To truly engage consumers, brands need to enhance their lives in some way, however small, because happiness is much more than simply making people smile.
There are a number of recognised drivers of happiness, with our overall happiness and well-being affected by our ability to respond to these drivers in our lives. But to understand these, we need to look at a bit of theory around why happiness matters. Take a look at our video ‘An Introduction to Happiness’ to find out more.
Happiness provides us with a new model for understanding consumer motivations. That’s great – but does this theory apply in practice to brands?
To answer this, we have been working with Dr Alex Gunz, a marketing psychologist at the University of Manchester’s Business School to explore how the latest thinking on happiness might be relevant for brands. Together, we conducted a project which monitored in-the-moment happiness and well-being when people purchased and used products/services and we then examined their resulting longer-term brand loyalty.
Our research demonstrated that happiness does indeed matter – brands that make people a little happy in some way are more likely to deliver higher equity levels and to be anticipated by consumers to be bought again, and this applies to both new brand purchases and current brand purchases across a wide range of product and service categories.
If we can make people happy when they use our brands, making them emotionally connect happiness with our brand, we can drive loyalty. But how does this actually work?
Social Scientist, BJ Fogg of Stanford University, is a keen researcher of habit formation. One of his key ideas around building habits quickly is about feeling a positive emotion at the time you’re ‘doing’ the new habit. This is important as a mental ‘hook’ to tell your brain that this is an experience that you should repeat. The celebration he uses in tiny habits is a hack (shortcut) to a positive emotion, i.e. to be able to create emotion at that moment.
If brands are being enjoyed at the point they’re being used, they will help consumers form habits more quickly. According to BJ Fogg “emotions create habits”. Positive emotions when experiencing a brand are therefore key to driving habits to form more quickly, so brands should want to elicit positive emotions and researchers need to understand the wider context of how brands are being experienced or consumed if we are able to understand how they are delivering happiness.
Find out the full story in our latest Comley Report, Happiness Matters. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your copy.
Get in touch with Head of Culture & Trends, Kelly McKnight, by email: email@example.com