Are Consumers Laughing at Your Brand? – WWD

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Eighty-eight percent of people say they are looking for new experiences to make them smile and laugh, according to new consumer research from Oracle Fusion Cloud Consumer Experience and bestselling author and podcaster, Gretchen Rubin.

Called the Happiness Report, the company’s researchers surveyed more than 12,000 consumers and business leaders across 14 countries ultimately finding that 45 percent of people say they have not felt true happiness for more than two years and a 25 percent additionally said they “don’t know, or have forgotten, what it means to feel truly happy.”

“The customer experience continues to evolve, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to one thing: making the customer happy,” said Rob Tarkoff, executive vice president and general manager, Oracle Advertising and Customer Experience. “There are many different factors that go into creating happy customers, and in this research, we decided to examine humor as it is one of the most nuanced. As the results show, most business leaders want to make consumers laugh more and understand it’s a critical part of establishing a true relationship. To be successful, brands need to put data at the heart of their customer experience strategy.”

With a search for joy in mind, survey respondents told the company they are willing to pay a premium to achieve their goals (78 percent). Consumers reported spending money to prioritize health (80 percent), build personal connections (79 percent) and take part in experiences (53 percent) to gain happiness. More than half of respondents (53 percent) said they wish money could buy happiness.

Notably, 89 percent of consumers said they attempted to find happiness through online shopping during the pandemic and while 47 percent said that packages arriving made them feel happy, another 12 percent reported struggling to remember the purchases they had made online.

Conversely, as consumers say they are on a journey toward happiness and want brands to make them smile and laugh, business leaders admitted to rarely using humor to engage with customers. With this in mind, it’s unsurprising that 78 percent of people told Oracle they believe brands can do more to deliver happiness to consumers.

When asked specifically how brands can improve, 91 percent said they prefer when brands are funny. This number increased to 94 percent of both Gen Z and Millennial consumers. Additionally, 90 percent of consumers said they are more likely to remember funny ads.

Consumers also shared that humor translates offline, with 77 percent of people saying they are more likely to buy from a salesperson that is funny. Similarly, 75 percent say they would follow a brand if it is funny on social media and 69 percent of people would open an email from a brand if the subject line was humorous.

Still, business leaders told Oracle they are afraid to joke around. An overwhelming 95 percent of business leaders cited fear as to why they do not use humor in customer interactions. Only 16 percent of business leaders said they use humor to sell, only 15 percent use humor on social media and just 24 percent say they actively use humor in email marketing campaigns.

“We’ve all been through some very tough years, and around the world, we’re short on happiness. We’re starved for experiences that make us smile and laugh, and brands can help,” Rubin said. “For brands aiming to contribute to the happiness of their target audience, the process starts with data and knowing your customers. Only then can you bring the appropriate mix of humor, personality and brand experience that will drive loyalty and brand advocacy.”

According to the study, humor can be a key factor in consumers feeling connected to a brand. Nearly half (48 percent) of people said they don’t believe they have a relationship with a brand unless it makes them smile or laugh and 41 percent say they would walk away from a brand if it didn’t make them laugh or smile regularly.

At the same time, these findings present a huge opportunity with 80 percent of consumers saying if a brand uses humor they are more likely to buy from it again with 72 percent even saying they will choose that brand over the competition and 63 percent saying they will spend more with that brand.

Positively, 89 percent of business leaders said they do see the opportunity to use humor as a way of enhancing the customer experience and believe that their brand can do more to make customers laugh or smile. While 85 percent said they do not believe they have the data insights or tools to successfully deliver humor, they would be more confident using humor when engaging with customers if they have better visibility (55 percent) and access to advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (32 percent).

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