Governments’ awareness of the benefits of the nation’s happiness and wellbeing to its economic and social sustainability is increasing. We all know already that the happier your employees are, the more effective they are and therefore the higher the profit. This is why the cooperative models like the one in John Lewis are so effective. The increased sense of control, co-creation and job satisfaction contributes to the overall happiness level which in turn contributes to the employee’s effectiveness.
In fact, The World Happiness Report 2015 shows that happiness is highly dependent on factors like fairness, honesty and trust, explaining why countries that preserve these values are also the ones that are more resistant to social and economic crisis.
To be precise, the researchers compiling the World Happiness Report cite six crucial variables determining country’s happiness: real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, social support (someone to count on), perceived freedom to make life choices, the absence of corruption, and generosity.
Some of these variables are dependent on government´s actions whereas others can be influenced by the companies operating within these countries. Because the evaluations of happiness are dependent on the level of positive and negative experiences people have, brands have an opportunity to increase a country’s happiness by creating positive relationships with and experiences for their customers. Using their marketing communications, customer service strategy and environment design to activate concepts of familiarity, friendship, a sense of power, freedom, empathy and trust can not only help the brand to create a satisfying and long-term relationship with their customers but also contribute to the overall country’s happiness.
How you can do it?
The sense of familiarity and friendship can be achieved by improving staff relationship with customers. Human interactions are essential for a person’s happiness and well-being. However, we are living in a world where social connections are being lost due to the popularity of technology; hence people started to look for meaningful interactions in all areas of their lives, even with the retail and hospitality staff. This trend creates an unrivalled opportunity for the brands to connect with their consumers on a deeper level and therefore increase customer satisfaction and overall happiness. However to fully take advantage of this opportunity, they need to invest in training their employees in the ability of creating close relationships and predicting consumers’ needs. We believe that the following skills would be crucial in such trainings: non-verbal communication, including body language, emotional expressions and personal style, basic knowledge of consumer psychology and human perception.
The sense of power and control over our lives is another crucial variable contributing to our overall happiness. Brands can give consumers a certain level of control and power by introducing aspects of co-creation where the costumer has the possibility to assist the brand in creating marketing communication, a product or an experience. A brand is valued more highly when an aspect of co-creation is introduced creating a sense of commitment and empathy.
Trust comes with an authentic brand personality. Since consumers attribute human characteristics to the brands, it is important for a brand to be consistent with its personality’s expression. Another crucial aspect of creating trust is delivering on customers’ expectations. If you promise them great quality, fast delivery and good prices you need to be sure that you can deliver it regardless of the external circumstances. Consumers’ brains do not care for excuses; they just see what they want to see and therefore if your mishap is due to a bad weather, they are still likely to attribute it to your brand personality.
Finally, a physical brand experience via experiential event or a retail store can also induce positive emotions in customers, if it is designed in a way that is capable of stimulating their senses. Sensory stimulation and the creation of immersive and multi-sensory experiences can improve emotional engagement and elicit feelings of relaxation and well-being. Consistent multi-sensory brand design, due to its immersive nature, can also contribute to the sense of freedom, contemplation and escapism.
So as you can see, contributing to a country’s happiness can also yield commercial benefits.
We wish you all a happy brand experiences!
This article has been written by Ana Costa in collaboration with Kate Nightingale based on The World Happiness Report 2015.
Image Source: The Wolrd Happiness Report 2015.