This weekend’s New York Times featured an article about happiness in, of all things, the Business section. Entitled “But Will It Make You Happy?”, the article describes how consumers, hastened by the Great Recession, are changing their consumption habits and the affect this will have on society and marketing.
Part of the article addresses the age old question about whether money and possessions equal happiness. But what interested me more was that recent research has shown that greater long term happiness is generated from experiences instead than purchase of objects. As the article put it: “spending money for an experience — concert tickets, French lessons, sushi-rolling classes, a hotel room in Monaco — produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old stuff.”
When we think about our client’s products and services we often think about how to sell the actual product. If we could consider ways that we could create a new product experience perhaps we could provide a new dimension for consumers to appreciate the product. One way to do this is through the Web and social communities. Great online communities occur when we give consumers the environment and the tools to participate with a client’s brand. They allow a consumer to get involved in ways that bring deeper meaning beyond the actual purchase. And if this doesn’t spell long term happiness I don’t know what does.