Of late there’s a lot of “happiness” around us. Whether in India or any other country, from Domino’s Pizza (Khushiyon ki Home Delivery) to Max New York Life Insurance (Khushiyon Ki Planning), or Coke with its global ‘Open Happiness’ campaign. Almost in every category you’ll find a product that just promises happiness. All this happiness talk makes me wonder – Why use a word so simple? Why not say something that’s more tangible and comparable such as “faster”, “cheaper” or “healthier”?
To begin with, how will you make people happy? I personally switch between so many underlying themes that provide my daily happiness, that I sat down and compiled a list (see Slidedeck below) to help me understand this better.
I concluded that happiness usually comes from three broad themes – cherished memory, present calm, or future excitement.
I also found consumer research studies at Stanford and Wharton which concluded that our choices significantly differed on whether we perceived happiness as calm vs. exciting i.e. now vs. later. The fascinating part of this research was that we’re all very flexible about the choice for our current theme, and we can be primed to prefer one theme over the other. Simply reminding people that happiness is about the present moment (e.g. offering herbal tea or making them read a spiritual quote), will make them prefer a product that offers calm. Reminding them about their future, will make them choose products that make their future more exciting.
The spiritual world tells us that happiness is a choice. The marketing world has found that we’re very flexible when making this choice. We can be nudged to associate our happiness to our past, present or future at any given moment, and this association subconsciously influences the immediate choices we make.
That’s powerful, and reveals why product marketers’ love to offer one of the broad themes of happiness and link their products to it. Well, let’s forgive them as long as they live up to the heightened expectations that come with making us happy!
A personal collection of happiness themes: