ThinkOTB Agency

How do you build a happy brand?

August 27, 2020

In these uncertain times a little happiness boost is exactly what we all need. Happiness is a powerful tool in business productivity. So, throughout the month we’ll be sharing our creative marketing agency’s words of wisdom to help you enjoy happiness highs. You can then share them with your whole business to develop a positive branding strategy.

Over Happiness Happens Month, we’ve established that happiness is highly infectious and responsible for inspiring creative and innovative thinking in the workplace. But, what happens when team happiness overflows into your branding and marketing campaigns?

Steve Hastings, co-founder at marketing agency Isobel, says

“A happy brand is a successful brand: it is better recalled, better liked andchosen more often.”

The ‘Happy Brands’ study from Isobel and Cog Research explains that “Being associated with happiness helps build stronger emotional connections between consumers’ memory structures and the brand” and ranked Cadbury, Andrex, Google, Fairy and Nivea as the UK’s top five happiest brands.

With happiness feeling like the holy grail of marketing, the big question then is:

How do you build a happy brand?

Hastings goes on to explain that sector plays a large role in customers perceiving your brand as happy, and therefore their brand of choice. FMCG, food and drink, and media sector companies build brand stories on heritage and their products hold enduring memories in consumers’ minds as being playful, generous and optimistic. But without big innovations in marketing, sectors such as telecoms, banks and political parties struggle in the happiness ranks because the nature of their business means they are seen as pessimistic and less generous.

No matter what sector, marketers know well that building trust goes a long way in elevating brands in consumers’ hearts. This is a long-term goal though that relies on not just emotional attributes, but tangible features too, such as a product living up to its promises and solving the customer’s problem. Luckily, in the short-term, there are a wide range of tactics which brands from any sector can implement to boost their happiness ratings and consequently, build a stronger emotional connection with their target consumer.

Top 5 ways to boost your brand’s happiness

1. Repositioning and rebranding

With happiness linked to those brands deemed to be playful, happy, trustworthy, generous and optimistic, brands can reposition themselves in the market based on some of these factors. Virtually overnight Old Spice transformed its brand from out-dated to playful – even sexy! – with its ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ rebrand.

2. Authenticity

To build trustworthiness in the short term more and more brands are aligning their values with their customers’. Ethical marketing can take the form of anything from supporting a charity to championing the source of their raw ingredients, but it must be connected to the brand’s existing values to feel authentic. Early in April, Budweiser aligned its brand with one of the biggest social issues of the Covid-19 lockdown – isolation. The brand re-recorded its much-loved ‘Whassup’ ad and changed the call to action to “Buds support buds. Check in on yours.”

3. Part of something

When customers feel that they are part of a group of like-minded consumers, you have customers for life. The best example of this is Apple. You’re either Mac or PC. iPhone or android. iTunes or Spotify. Once customers buy Apple they wax lyrical to their friends about the products and rarely buy rival brands. TikTok is great for growing this engaged community – find out how.

4. Unique experiences

Transactional brands have long been losing ground to experiential brands where customers come away with much more than the product. They come away with a memorable experience that they tell their friends about. The Dollar Shave Club has used this principle to turn buying razors into a fun, personality-packed experience.

5. Investing in people

When your customer-facing team members are happy, this will be felt by your customers too – just think of the smiles you receive in Lush and John Lewis. Whether this is in store, over the phone or even in emails, it pays to give your teams the best tools to do their job and create the right environment for happiness to thrive. Happy staff are key to happy branding.

Happiness is contagious. See how ThinkOTB is positive branding and authentic brand stories here. When you’re ready to build a happy brand for your business, email jo.waddington@otbagency to get started.


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