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Smiles and laughter pay dividends, but business leaders are afraid to joke around

SOME 48 percent of people did not believe they had a relationship with a brand unless it made them smile or laugh and 41 percent would walk away from a brand if it did not make them laugh or smile regularly. Photo, Bloomberg.

SOME 48 percent of people did not believe they had a relationship with a brand unless it made them smile or laugh and 41 percent would walk away from a brand if it did not make them laugh or smile regularly. Photo, Bloomberg.

Published Jun 21, 2022

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PEOPLE wanted brands to make them smile and laugh, but business leaders fear using humour in customer interactions, according to a new research report from Oracle Fusion Cloud Customer Experience (CX) and Gretchen Rubin, five-time New York Times best-selling author and podcaster.

The Happiness Report includes insights from more than 12 000 consumers and business leaders across 14 countries who found that people were searching for new experiences to make them smile and laugh and would reward brands that embraced humour with loyalty, advocacy and repeat purchases, while walking away from those that do not.

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New York Times best-selling author and podcaster Gretchen Rubin said that everyone had been through some very tough years, and around the world, people were short on happiness. “We’re starved for experiences that make us smile and laugh, and brands can help,” said Rubin.

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 humour, personality, and brand experience that will drive loyalty and brand advocacy,” Rubin said.

People were said to be searching for happiness in new ways and were willing to pay a premium. This was because it had been more than two years since many people last felt true happiness hence they were searching for ways to be happy again, no matter the cost.

Some 45 percent of people had not felt true happiness for more than two years and 25 percent did not know, or had forgotten, what it meant to feel truly happy.

Some 88 percent were looking for new experiences to make them smile and laugh. People were prioritising health (80 percent), personal connections (79 percent), and experiences (53 percent) to gain happiness.

More than half (53 percent) wished money could buy happiness, with 78 percent willing to pay a premium for that true happiness. Some 89 percent attempted to find happiness in online shopping during the pandemic while 47 percent said that receiving packages made them happy and 12 percent struggled to remember the purchases they had made online.

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Rob Tarkoff, the executive vice-president and general manager, Oracle Fusion Cloud Customer Experience (CX), said the customer experience continued to evolve, but at the end of the day, it all came down to one thing: making the customer happy.

“There are many different factors that go into creating happy customers and in this research, we decided to examine humour 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,” Tarkoff said.

The data suggested that advertising, marketing, sales and customer service interactions needed to change. People wanted brands to make them smile and laugh, yet business leaders admitted their brands rarely used humour to engage with customers.

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Some 78 percent of people believed brands could do more to deliver happiness to their customers and 91 percent said they preferred brands to be funny with this number increasing among Gen Z (94 percent) and Millennials (94 percent).

Some 90 percent were more likely to remember ads that were funny, yet business leaders said that only 20 percent of their brands’ offline ads (TV, billboards) and 18 percent of their online ads actively used humour.

Some 77 percent of people were more likely to buy from a salesperson that was funny, yet only 16 percent of business leaders said that their brands used humour to sell. Some 75 percent of people would follow a brand if it was funny on its social media channels, yet only 15 percent of business leaders said their brand was humorous on social media.

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Some 69 percent of people would open an email from a brand if the subject line were funnier, yet only 24 percent of business leaders said they actively used humour in email marketing campaigns. Some 68 percent would prefer to engage with a chatbot/digital assistant that was funny, yet only 27 percent of business leaders said their brands actively incorporate humour into bot communications.

Smiles and laughter pay dividends, but business leaders are afraid to joke around.

People will reward brands that embrace humour with loyalty, advocacy, and repeat purchases and would walk away from those that did not.

Some 48 percent of people did not believe they had a relationship with a brand unless it made them smile or laugh and 41 percent would walk away from a brand if it did not make them laugh or smile regularly.

If a brand uses humour, people were more likely to buy from the brand again (80 percent), recommend the brand to family and friends (80 percent), choose the brand over the competition (72 percent) and spend more with a brand (63 percent).

Some 89 percent of business leaders saw the opportunity to use humour to enhance the customer experience and believed that their brand could do more to make customers laugh or smile.

However, 95 percent of business leaders feared using humour in customer interactions.

Some 85 percent of business leaders stated that they did not have the data insights or tools to successfully deliver humour. Business leaders would be more confident using humour when engaging with customers if they had better customer visibility (55 percent) and access to advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (32 percent).

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BUSINESS REPORT

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