The Influence of Positive Psychology on Marketing

A Perfect Storm of Happiness Through Positive Psychology

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The Pursuit of Happiness Happens Every Day. Getty Images | Robert Daly | Caiaimage

Happiness is on the rise.

This is the verdict of the 38-year old End of Year Survey that Gallup International and the Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research (WIN) have been conducting for 38 years.  The survey is focused on Giving the World a Voice each year.

Together, the Gallup International and WIN collaboration brings together the leading global association in polling and market research.

 This survey represents the beliefs, expectations, outlooks, and views of 64,002 people living in 65 countries around the world. 

In 1977, association chairman Dr. George Gallup designed and initiated the first End of Year Survey. Since that time, the survey has been conducted every year.

Highlights from the Survey

  • 70% of people worldwide say they are happy with their life
  • 60% more people were happy in 2014 than 2013
  • Fiji is the happiest country in the world at 93%, 
  • Iraq is the least happy country in the world at 31%
  • 42% believe that their country will experience economic prosperity in 2015
  • Africa (75%) and Asia (63%) are most confident that 2015 will be better than 2014
  • Western Europeans are less confident (12%) 2015 will be economically prosperous

[Note: MENA stands for the Middle East and North Africa region, extending from Morocco to Iran, and including all Middle Eastern and Maghreb countries.

MENA is roughly synonymous with the term the Greater Middle East.] 

What Gross National Happiness Means for Marketing

The president of the WIN/Gallup International Association, Jean-Marc Leger at the headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland said:

“Whilst the outlook for the world’s economy remains unpredictable our happiness refuses to wane and remains high across the globe.  This year’s survey also highlights that people across the world are increasingly optimistic and believe that 2015 is set to be a good year.”

Happiness in Marketing

Companies want consumers to know that happiness does not mean, as the chief marketing officer of Cadillac gracefully put it:  More than, "one-upmanship such as 'more horsepower,' 'more torque.'"   Happiness comes to those who "dare greatly."  

Rounding up some of the most happiness oriented advertising slogans,  David Van Nuys, Ph.D., of the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA), and who is also a practicing clinical psychologist, produced this happy list that combines positive psychology with qualitative research:

-  We don't just make cars.  We make joy.

- Life Well Spent

Dove - Inner Beauty. True Colors

Starbucks - What if we're not separate?

MasterCard - Things Money Can't Buy

Allstate - Protect the Basics

- Thrive!

The Coca-Cola Company - Live Positively. Open Happiness.

A Little More About Happiness

Coca-Cola's definition of happiness is simple: 

Happiness to us is anything that can bring a smile to someone's face. We're in the business of spreading smiles and opening happiness every day all across the world. We know we might not change the world over night, but if we can add just a few smiles to the world then we've done our job. Since the dawn of time the human race has sought intensely after the pleasure and lightness that true happiness brings. The quest for true happiness is one that every person will adventure on.

Even though the Coke copywriter doesn't use proper grammar in "The quest for true happiness is one that every person will adventure on," the sentiment expressed is probably right.   The qualifying adjective "true" might be a bit strong, however, as it connotes a Disney princess living happily ever after type of happiness.  Later on, the Coke website qualifies their grand statement saying that, 

Since the dawn of time the human race has sought intensely after the pleasure and lightness that true happiness brings. The quest for true happiness is one that every person will adventure on. The quest for true happiness is not really a quest at all, but a decision and a choice. So don't wait another moment. Open an ice cold Coca-Cola and choose happiness!

To this, Jesvier Kaur, founder and director of QZONE, says: 

People want to make responsible choices, however, they're forced to work very hard and go out of their way to search and sift for products that are a better choice.  It's the job of marketing and research to lead people there - to make it easier to make better choices.  This, I suggest, leads to happier customers and ultimately 'good marketing.'