Is it really important to make your customers feel happy?

ImageWe were interested to read a new study a week or two back that revealed the UK’s happiest brands and explained how they instilled an emotional connection with consumers.

For the record, Cadbury’s was selected as the ‘happiest’ brand in the UK, according to research by advertising agency Isobel in association with Cog Research. Who’d have thought research would show that our leading chocolate brand is also the one that makes us feel happiest?

The study ranked Andrex second, followed by Google, Fairy, Nivea, YouTube, Amazon, Mars, Walkers and Heinz, indicating that brands, which display ‘happy characteristics’ connect better with consumers. Apparently a happy brand is a successful brand: it is better recalled, better liked and chosen more often, according to the report.

The research says that happy brands are determined by five core characteristics: whether they are playful, happy, trustworthy, generous or optimistic.

However, we’re not sure the extent to which this rings true across all sectors. There are some brands which we may trust but which we don’t want to be either playful or happy. We want them to be serious and professional and, in fact, if by nature of their business they suddenly became frivolous and fun, we would become less likely to trust them, not more.

So what are the implications of all this? Our belief that we have become more savvy during the recession and are more discerning in the choice of brands and businesses with which we choose to engage. We want our relationship with those brands to be genuinely two-way and based on value and remain uncertain the extent to which this is compatible with a happiness index.

Our view is that your business needs to find ways of engaging with and developing a relationship with its potential customer base in a manner that rings true to the service you deliver and the role you fulfil for them. Don’t try to be your customers’ best friends or expect them to be yours; expect their loyalty only as long as you are fulfilling the need they want from you and ensure your marketing activity – whether it is above the line or below the line, offline or online – reflects genuinely what their experience and expectations of you are. They want reliability, value, professionalism and great service – they don’t want you to toy with their affections.

So don’t commit energy trying to fill the happiness gap in their lives – leave that to their friends and family. But if you can be the ones that can fill the satisfaction gap through what you offer and the way you offer it, then you will be as close to gaining their loyalty as it is possible to be.

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