Opinion: Happiness Is an Elastic Concept and Merely Associating a Brand with It Is Not Enough to Woo Consumers

Marketing, January 25, 2012 | Go to article overview

Opinion: Happiness Is an Elastic Concept and Merely Associating a Brand with It Is Not Enough to Woo Consumers


Happiness is an elastic concept and merely associating a brand with it is not enough to woo consumers, according to research.

Suppose you learned today that your brand had achieved a new high on some significant measure: awareness, say, or market share. Would you be happy?

Sure you would. You'd have every reason to feel that dictionary-definition 'state of wellbeing and contentment'. For a while. Come the next quarterly review, though, if that number remains precisely the same, it will no longer put a smile on your face.

That's the trouble with happiness: it is a moving target. Perhaps that's why the founding fathers of the US went no further than enshrining, as a universal right, its mere pursuit; they knew better than to make any rash pronouncements regarding its lasting possession.

David Cameron appears less wise in his intention to track the UK's reported overall happiness. What is to be gained? Even if a government could contrive to achieve maximum happiness for most people, it would not last beyond a single survey. There is no socio-economic opiate powerful enough to sustain the high.

Brand owners, of course, have long understood the elasticity of happiness, and have used continuous product improvement to stimulate consumers' innate preparedness to crave more.

Once, people were content with single-blade razors, basic cars and 501-line TVs. It didn't last. Today's six-blade razors look like miniature spaceships, a regular family car is a 120-mph supercomputer and anyone swapping their HD smart screen for a 70s set would think they were watching EastEnders through a flannel. It takes more to make us happy.

Since product improvement is costly, and consumers fickle, many brands have sought to crystallise their contribution to our capricious sense of fulfilment in the most direct possible way. Coke says 'Open happiness'; Dunkin' Donuts invites us to down it with 'The happiest sandwich on Earth'. Clinique simply calls its lead fragrance 'Happy'.

Unfortunately for brands, new academic research suggests that this, too, will need to be improved. According to a soon-to-be published report in the Journal of Consumer Research, broad promises of happiness are too unfocused to influence consumer choice.

Building on prior academic research, the authors show that happiness is experienced in two ways: excitement on the one hand, peace and calm on the other. Predictably, youth tends to be more excitement focused, and older people more turned on by calm. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Opinion: Happiness Is an Elastic Concept and Merely Associating a Brand with It Is Not Enough to Woo Consumers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.