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Happiness marketing: what roles emotions play on consumer decision making?

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Professionals have been brainstorming the topic of happiness for decades. Among them, marketers have been extracting gems from the sea of joy for years to include their findings in their campaigns to attract customers.

I have been trying to find the answer to a question that must be bothering you too. What will be your buying behavior if you are happy? Will the person end up buying or ignoring the product?

I know the answer is obvious that yes we buy more when we’re in a good mood but is there any academic proof of it?

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I went through a couple of blog posts, read research papers on happiness and consumer buying behavior, emailed marketing professors of traditional & online marketing.

Here is what I found! 

Both positive and negative emotions have a direct effect on consumer behaviors. A consensus exists among professionals and academicians on that.

This post replies to the question and I’m sure you must have wondered why an angry person was often a bad shopper and why that person made good purchases when happy..

This is the first post of a series of two posts

Emotions in Decision Making:

Before discussing any further, let’s first look at the definition of emotions they teach in universities. In a 2007 research paper, Yingxu Wang describes emotions in these words:

An emotion is a personal feeling derived from one’s current internal status, mood, circumstances, historical context, and external stimuli.

The theory and research of emotions is spread across many disciplines. In academic research, the notion of the concept has greatly advanced (1).

Marketers use both positive and negative emotions in their campaigns to target customer loyalty > brand equity > sales.

What are the positive emotions?

Emotions that have a positive effect on your mood are positive. Those emotions tune your mind in a positive state and you emit which people call, positive energy’.

A renowned Indian speaker Sandeep Maheshwari, says that energy is energy…….How it is positive or negative. Apparently, he has a strong opinion.

It is not the energy carries a positive or negative charge, but it’s the effect of that energy. If the effect is good, the energy is positive. But if the effect is not good; the energy is negative.

Her’s a list of some positive emotions; marketers have been using these emotions in their campaigns. I will discuss this in part 2 of this series.

  • Joy
  • Interest
  • Serenity
  • Kindness
  • Hope
  • Harmony
  • Gratitude
  • Kindness
  • Cheerfulness
  • Confidence
  • Admiration
  • Enthusiasm
  • Euphoria
  • Satisfaction
  • Delight
  • Pride
  • Contentment
  • Inspiration
  • Amusement
  • Enjoyment
  • Awe
  • Love
  • Serenity
  • Peace
  • Trust
  • Delight
  • Happiness
  • Pleasure
  • Carefree
  • Ease
  • Satisfaction
  • Fulfillment
  • Hopeful
  • Confidence
  • Optimism

All the above positive emotions are a bi-product of Happiness. Early researches have shown that Satisfaction (4), love, amusement lead to sales.

what is happiness

In some cases, happiness is defined as feeling excited, and in other cases, happiness is defined as feeling calm. The type of happiness pursued is determined by one’s temporal focus, such that individuals tend to choose more exciting options when focused on the future, and more calming options when focused on the present moment (3).

What are the negative emotions?

Following are some of the emotions which have a negative affect on a person’s mind.

  • Grief
  • Sorrow
  • Heartache
  • Sadness
  • Unhappiness
  • Depression
  • Hatred
  • Blame
  • Regret
  • Misery
  • Resentment
  • Threatening
  • Antagonism
  • Anger
  • Fury
  • Hostility
  • Hate
  • Shame
  • Insecurity
  • Self-consciousness
  • Bravado
  • Embarrassment
  • Worry
  • Panic
  • Frustration
  • Pessimistic
  • Cynicism
  • Jealousy
  • Weariness
  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Fright
  • Fear

Happy Customer buys more!

This is the reason why companies are so bothered to keep their customers happy and target happiness.

Happy customers are usually satisfied customers (although the two are totally different concepts). Happy customers are oriented to buy more.

Academic proof:

“There is no question whether emotion plays a part of decision-making. It plays a part of all behavior.” – Adam King

Research (5) proves that positive emotions have a direct impact on customer satisfaction and on positive word-of-mouth. Past researches have proved that satisfaction leads to brand loyalty. In addition, satisfaction can lead to purchasing intention (6). 

customer satisfaction
positive emotion leads to satisfaction leads to brand loyalty

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References:

  1. Oatley, K., Keltner, D., & Jenkins, J. M. (2006). Understanding emotions. Blackwell publishing.
  2. Wang, Y. (2007). On the cognitive processes of human perception with emotions, motivations, and attitudes. International Journal of Cognitive Informatics and Natural Intelligence (IJCINI), 1(4), 1-13.
  3. Cassie Mogilner, Jennifer Aaker, Sepandar D. Kamvar, How Happiness Affects Choice, Journal of Consumer Research, Volume 39, Issue 2, 1 August 2012, Pages 429–443, https://doi.org/10.1086/663774
  4. Dib, H., & Al-Msallam, S. (2015). The Effect of The Determinants of Customer Satisfaction on Brand Loyalty”. Journal of Research in Business and Management3(3), 01-12.
  5. White, C. J. (2010). The impact of emotions on service quality, satisfaction, and positive word-of-mouth intentions over time. Journal of marketing management26(5-6), 381-394.
  6. Bloemer, J. M. M., & Odekerken-Schröder, G. J. (2002). Store satisfaction and store loyalty explained by customer-and store related factors.

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