Great article over at Forbes by Meghan Casserly on how good branding, rather than low pricing, can make customers happy, with some insights from INSEAD’s Pierre ChandonMarian Salzman, Richard Laermer and Ned Russell.

Worth a read but, in short, here’s what you need to know.

Brands that make people happy have hedonistic and symbolic value – which in plain English simply means that they deliver pleasure and stand for something that we value.

  • Happiness Tactic No. 1: Make Us Feel Like a Kid Again – use nostalgia to associate your brand with happy and worry-free childhood times (used by Coke, Cambells)
  • Happiness Tactic No. 2: Make Us Feel We’re Part of Something Bigger – embrace your blue monster;  a-change-the-world-or-go-home purpose (used by Zappos, Virgin, Prius, Apple) – see brilliant video below on the economics of purpose
  • Happiness Tactic No. 3: Help Us Escape – help people break free from constraint, fear and boredom (used by Starbucks)
  • Happiness Tactic No. 4: Let Us Help – the mind is ultimately a problem solving machine; happiness is nature’s reward for a problem well-solved (used by Apple, Facebook)
The psychology behind embracing happiness as your business model is compelling, as are the economics.  You may well have read the trilogy of books on the subject; Delivering Happiness by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Kawasaki’s Enchantment, and Fred Reichheld’s The Ultimate Question (on making customers smile). If not, they’re well worth a read, as is a quick view of this brilliant video on why rewarding customers with meaning and MAP (mastery, autonomy and purpose) creates more smiles than financial rewards.