Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Can you create more happiness?

What is it about the song, “Happy”?  

Me, along with millions of my best friends around the world can’t get enough of it.  It may be the catchy hook, it could be all the opportunities to clap; but at the end of the 3 minutes and 53 seconds the truth is I’m just a whole helleva lot happier than I was before.  It’s a dose of musical medication for me and may even be the same for others who continue to share lyrics as hashtags on twitter, the video on youtube, and even create their own version of the video to the song.

But why do we need a does of happiness anyway? Is there something going on where we need a dose of happy?

You ‘betcha!*    

Simply put, it's life. There are psychologists who map out the path of happiness throughout our life cycle in the shape of a U.  The beginning starts higher around our late teens, then decreasing as we hit the lowest end of the curve around 40’s before it begins an upward trajectory again.  (It hasn’t been disproved yet, but when I think of whom 'gives' the most smiles on any given day, it seems to be true.) When you cross-reference this with the average of people in the United States at 39, you have a lot of people who may find it a little bit tougher to smile. 

Beyond personal happiness, there are governments exploring it's effect on productivity and wealth. Bhutan has led the way with their Gross National Happiness initiative, but the UN is measuring happiness and even California is looking to create a well-being indexThe topic and idea is going nowhere, when you look at the Google Trends, it's shown an upward trajectory since 2005, usually peaking for the year in December. (new year's resolutions anyone?)

While I’m sure this is riveting information you’ll talk about over happy hour tonight, you may wonder what does this have to do with culture, consumers and creativity? Pretty much everything. Mindset, motivation and beliefs drive so much of how brands connect with the people who love them.  

Is it a coincidence that of the top 10 most shared ads of 2013, eight of them share some sort of emotion associated with happiness? Most likely not. On any given day when consumers are shopping for your brand, they’re unconsciously thinking about the emotions associated with them.  For Fabulouso it is a smell that recalls sitting in the TV room laughing at Saturday morning cartoons while Mom is cleaning. For Dove it’s remembering how beautiful I already am before I even use their products. For Chipotle, it’s feeling good about what I’m putting into my body and eating humanely. Simply put, the brands that make me smile go into my cart.

And just in the rare case you haven’t heard the song or viewed the video. Here’s your dose of Happy for this Humpday. Make sure to clap your hands!

(*Disclaimer: I spent my early adult years in the great state of MN, but consider casserole and hot dish terminology as synonyms. Totally insider joke.)

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