Building Brands On Joy And Happiness

Dr. Martina OlbertJanuary 4, 202258553 min

In November, Niko Omilana opened a fake “not Apple” pop-up store in London (video here) to prank Apple and steal its customers, but also to send a message about the sky-rocketing prices of Apple products without much customer innovation or increased utility.

“The wrong way to do things can unexpectedly lead to the right results.”

And although it might look daft at first, the idea behind it is rock solid. In fact, it’s genius. Just imagine how much joy brands could spread if they did a meaningless act like this once a year to make people happy and in turn strengthen their customer loyalty…

Using Brands Strategically As Vehicles For Social Good

And now, imagine if EVERY BRAND did this. How much our relationship with brands would change and transform. We wouldn’t see them necessarily only as vehicles of over-consumption and corporate greed. We would see them as vehicles for social good. Not selling us aspirational happiness, but generating real happiness.

National Lottery Boosts The Economy And Human Happiness

Bhutan has the highest rank of national happiness of all countries around the world. One of the reasons is their clever national lottery system that helps keep the economy and taxes afloat. Everybody saves their receipts and then at the end of the year someone wins the lottery. It boosts morale, happiness and the nation’s life satisfaction.

Reversing The Corporate Culture As A Force For Good

If the US and UK did this, we would have a profoundly different corporate culture on our hands… and with it a much different society. This is not rocket science, nor is it a utopia. It is the reimagination of consumerism as a force for good.

It is not necessarily about giving things for free, it is about spreading joy and giving people hope and their humanity back. It is about turning the dynamic of consumerism from brand aspiration to human wellbeing.

On The Horizon: Humanistic Capitalism

This is the beginning of Humanistic Capitalism: a new form of capitalism that doesn’t reduce humanity to its lowest common denominator and determines the value of a person based on their ability to afford something. It goes beyond the purchase and transaction. It understands that life and business are about finding a balance between give and take. True sustainable growth cannot exist without giving back because sooner or later one party will burn out. This makes consumerism as we know it unsustainable and meaningless.

There needs to be a balance between selling and marketing products on one hand and taking care of people and the environment on the other. Every brand needs to be consciously aware of the vital context of the world in which their business is embedded. It is time that brands understand that people aren’t machines with unlimited resources to be marketed to, but fragile human beings with feelings and emotions who want to be happy and self-actualize.

As the next step in their evolutionary journey, brands need to learn how to spread joy, nurture real communities, and create new authentic connections with people. This is the beginning of a new approach to business that understands its own purpose in people’s lives and looks at the world holistically, in its real context, as an infinite chain of cause and effect where the highest good isn’t just profit generation, but restoring human wellbeing.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Dr. Martina Olbert, founder and chief executive at Meaning.Global.

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