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Joyconomy : where brands are the architects of our happiness

Amidst uncertainties there are brands dedicated to making the world a happier place, one joyful experience at a time, writes a senior strategist from Wunderman Thompson

By Kanika Bali

In an age where consumers are bombarded with products and services, brands are now realizing the power of joy and optimism in setting them apart. To combat the unending sources of anxiety for the average consumer, from climate change to the cost-of-living crisis, brands are looking to demonstrate a genuine commitment to their customers’ well-being by providing moments of joy and escapism where they are least expected. More than just a marketing tactic, the “Joyconomy” is a movement - one that sees local as well as global brands prioritising uplifting experiences, community, and playfulness as core parts of their identity.

Embracing Emotional Connections:

By recognising and acknowledging the diverse emotional needs of their audience, brands can create experiences that are not just transactional but transformative. Airbnb’s “Live There” campaign for example, taps into this core need of community and connection and feeling at home no matter where you are. By adopting a design and brand language that recognises the consumer’s unique needs and aspirations as a traveler, Airbnb positions itself as a pathway to belonging, rather than just a way to put a roof over your head.

Reviving Nostalgia and Happy Memories:

Nostalgia has a unique power to evoke joy. Brands that tap into cherished moments from the past can create a deep sense of happiness among their consumers. By incorporating elements from the past, like classic labels, familiar smells, or tastes, brands can transport their customers to a time when life was simpler and happier. For instance, the familiar red and white of Campbell's Soup instantly triggers childhood memories, creating a sense of comfort and joy. By cleverly intertwining past experiences with modern products, brands can weave a narrative that resonates with the heart, bringing happiness to their customers.

Fostering Positive Communities:

In an era dominated by social media, brands have a unique opportunity to foster positive communities. Online platforms are not just places to showcase products; they can become spaces of encouragement, support, and shared joy. Brands that facilitate positive interactions and provide platforms for like-minded individuals to connect can create a sense of belonging and happiness. Whether it's an app encouraging compliments among peers or social media platforms tailored for specific interests, these initiatives create virtual spaces where joy is not just a byproduct but the essence of the interaction. Glossier has always been a great example of this, fostering a unique community of super fans that serve not just as social proof but as evidence of the brand’s positive stance towards all kinds of beauty.

Designing Playful Experiences:

Playfulness is the universal language of joy. Brands are embracing playful designs and experiences that resonate with consumers of all ages. McDonald's introduction of Happy Meals for adults, complete with toys, rekindles the childlike joy of discovering surprises. Even packaging designs, like those of Houseplant inspired by Lego blocks, inject a sense of playfulness into everyday products. These design choices transcend mere aesthetics; they create a sense of delight and optimism, making mundane activities a source of happiness.

In the Joyconomy, brands are not just providers of products and services; they are architects of happiness. By embracing emotional connections, reviving nostalgia, fostering positive communities, and designing playful experiences, brands can deliver much-needed optimism and joy to their consumers. This movement signifies a paradigm shift where brands are not just businesses but companions in the journey of life, spreading smiles and creating moments that linger in the hearts of their customers. As the world navigates challenges, the Joyconomy stands as a beacon of hope, reminding us that amidst uncertainties, there are brands dedicated to brightening our days and making the world a happier place, one joyful experience at a time.

Kanika Bali is a senior strategist at Wunderman Thompson


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