“Consumers want to be happy, and marketers are increasingly trying to appeal to consumers’ pursuit of happiness.” Cassie Mogilner (University of Pennsylvania), Jennifer Aaker (Stanford University) and Sepandar Kamvar (MIT), authors of a study in the Journal of Consumer Research.


Description

With the recessionary economy, volatile job market, credit crunch and soaring tuition fees, reasons to get out of reality are in high demand. Millennials hook to certain optimism since they know they are empowered to find out the positive aspect of almost any situation. And that’s as true for their behaviors as it is for the products and services they gravitate to. There is a shift in how these consumers apprehend need and status, now that they are wising up to the fact that money and material goods don’t guarantee true contentment. But what drives consumers’ happiness? App developers are feeding into the quest for self-knowledge with tools that help consumers track when and why they’re happiest, and allowing them to discover what inspires happiness in other people as well.

Millennials are hooked on a certain optimism, since they know they can find the positive aspect of almost any situation.

Certain universal triggers – namely, high-quality individual relationships and activities that align with one’s values (the more time people spend engaged in activities they deem to be meaningful, the happier they are) – are particularly relevant in the current climate. Experiences that enrich one’s closest relationships help increase happiness, as do those that help consumers identify their values and work towards meaningful goals. From a marketing and brand perspective, a Journal of Consumer Research study found that younger and future-focused consumers experience happiness through excitement while older and more present-driven consumers associate it with calmness. Either way, across the life course, people increasingly associate happiness with calmness and being present in the moment.

Work-life balance

Millennial consumers are forging their own pathways to happiness by focusing on personal fulfillment while dutifully managing their debt. Traditional ostensible signs of success matter less than boosting their own sense of self-worth and personal satisfaction.

According to the PWC’s ‘Managing Tomorrows People’ study, 95% of Millennials studied said a work/life balance is important to them.

This generation is as much concerned about family or friends or making the world better as about the amount of money they make. A large majority of Millennials rank Work-Life Balance extremely high on their list of things to consider before accepting or applying to a job opportunity. According to the PWC’s ‘Managing Tomorrows People’ study, 95% of Millennials studied said a work/life balance is important to them. They are largely unconvinced that what they would have to give up to get rewards in their future career is worth such a sacrifice and the majority of them are unwilling to commit to making their work lives an exclusive priority, even with the promise of substantial compensation later on. In addition, for them, creating a strong cohesive, team-oriented culture at work and providing opportunities for interesting work – including assignments around the world – are important for their own happiness, according to the same study. Some publications even release lists of jobs that offer the best ratio. In this vein, Dream Champs is a “happiness consultancy” launched in 2012 to help people discover what these passions are, “Because Life is Too Short to do Work You Hate.”

In culture & media

A cultural fascination with happiness is now undeniable in the media and pop culture, highlighting good feelings or a simple joie de vivre. Happiness is at the core of new books, movies, art exhibitions and ad campaigns dedicated to the topic, coming from a community in search of inspiration.

A cultural fascination with happiness is now undeniable in the media and pop culture, highlighting good feelings or a simple joie de vivre.

Words such as “happy” or “happiness” are becoming a cover story in major media; a reward is now attributed to the ‘happiest blog’ on the web, and the latest version of Happy by American singer Pharrell Williams got 416,596,280 views on Youtube to date. Happy is a 2011 documentary film by Roko Belic that explores human happiness through interviews with people from all walks of life in 14 different countries, weaving in the newest findings of positive psychology. In the world of politics and corporations, the value of happiness is increasingly featuring among corporate missions while policy directions have economists, politicians and corporate strategists thinking about happiness as a factor on the bottom line (Gross National Happiness is itself an indicator in Bhutan).

Featured examples

 

Hello Happiness Phone Booth

Credit: Coca-colacompany.com

Credit: Coca-colacompany.com

To give labourers in the UAE a few extra minutes of happiness, Coca-Cola created the Hello Happiness Phone Booth – a special phone booth that accepts Coca-Cola bottle caps instead of coins for a free 3-minute international phone call, helping them connect with their families back home more often. A video posted on YouTube rapidly went viral, making the buzz., following their global ‘Open Happiness’ campaign, which has sought to equate the brand with moments of simple pleasures.
United-Arab-Emirates United Arab Emirates, May 2014

 

La vie est belle by Lancôme

Credit: Lancôme

Credit: Lancome.fr

Luxury beauty brand Lancôme has perfectly brought the trend to life by launching a perfume called “La vie est belle”. According to the global beauty brand, women should liberate themselves from diktats and make the choice to be themselves, to find their own way, their happiness. A new era is defined by words that are both extremely simple and powerful: “Life is beautiful.” allowing all women to discover a new way of life and follow their own path to happiness.
France France, June 2012

 

The School of life

Credit: The School of life’s Facebook page

Credit: The School of life’s Facebook page

The School of Life is devoted to developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture. The School runs courses in the important questions of everyday life that we care about: careers, relationships, politics, travels, families, etc. Headquartered in London, they operate around the globe. They offer classes and therapies in person, publish books, film their events and make and sell a range of objects & tools that assist people in the quest for a more fulfilled life. They also run a consulting and training service for businesses, and they have a division offering psychotherapy for individuals, couples or families – and it does so in a completely stigma-free way.
United-Kingdom United Kingdom, September 2012

 

Des Raisons d’y Croire by Coca Cola

Credit: Des raisons d’y croire’s Tumblr page

Credit: Des raisons d’y croire’s Tumblr page

Coca Cola has played with emotion in a recent ad campaign. With their tagline ‘Des Raisons d’y Croire’ (#drdc), the brand proves there are moments of happiness, solidarity and hope that compensate those of anger, disappointment or sadness. This is an invitation to keep a positive eye on the daily joys that we don’t necessarily notice.
France France, January 2014

 

Happylab

Credit: Happylab’s Facebook page

Credit: Happylab’s Facebook page

Happylab is a French non-profit organization dedicated to the collection and dissemination of various expertises – philosophy, psychology, sociology, neuroscience and art – around the unique topic of happiness. Their mission is to raise France as the happiest country in the world. The organization provides conferences, forums and workshops for businesses in several cities, as well as a magazine and videos, all aiming to discuss and share around the topic. Every month they receive a happiness expert who presents their method, their book and their personal background. Happylab cafés are a free opportunity to meet people and learn about disciplines of well-being.
France France, December 2011

Business & Marketing guidelines

1

To appear as a happy brand, employ good old-fashioned charm: use a carefully tailored tone of voice showing that your brand owner is ‘human’.

2

When you connect with consumers by promising happiness, consider that happiness doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. Where one consumer’s face might twinkle with excitement, another’s face could exude calm contentment. These two experiences play out in the choices each individual will make.

3

Seize the occasion to convey positive values, principles and ideals, either in your corporate standards or in your communication campaigns.

4

Bear in mind that each consumer’s meaning of happiness influences the act of purchase, with everything from the music they listen to, and the type of tea they drink to the brand of water they buy. Consumers who are more focused on the future choose “exciting” products whereas more present-focused participants tend to choose calming brands and products.

Summary

  • In a society with so many economic difficulties, reasons to get out of reality are in high demand. Millennials are hooked on a certain optimism, since they know they can find the positive aspect of almost any situation.
  • This generation is as much concerned about family or friends or making the world better as about how much money they make.
  • According to the PWC’s ‘Managing Tomorrows People’ study, 95% of Millennials said a work/life balance is important to them.
  • A cultural fascination with happiness is at the core of books, movies, art exhibitions and ad campaigns dedicated to the topic, coming from a community in search of inspiration.

Experts that we recommend

florence-servan-schreiber Florence Servan-Schreiber
French writer & author of book 3 kifs par jour (Marabout, 2011)
johanna-moodstep Johanna Moodstep
Founder of non-profit organization Happy Lab
mark-williamson Mark Williamson
Director of American movement Action for Happiness