What makes consumers happy?

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Brands that resonate happiness will win with today's consumers. Pic: GettyImages/fizkes
Brands that resonate happiness will win with today's consumers. Pic: GettyImages/fizkes

Related tags buzzback happiness Sustainability charitable welfare trendspotting brand differentiation

In a world gone mad, it’s more imperative than ever for brands to preserve the values and needs that are important to consumers.

With society essentially in turmoil, creating memorable moments of happiness is more imperative than ever – this is the mission behind the UN’s annual International Day of Happiness (20 March), first celebrated in 2013 to set an example that will ripple out into the world.

The campaign is a global celebration, coordinated by Action for Happiness, a non-profit movement of people from 160 countries. All 193 UN member states, too, have adopted the resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority.

Does your brand match up?

To mark International Day of Happiness 2020, New York-based innovation and insights agency buzzback surveyed consumers from around the world to find out what they associated most with happiness, along with the brands that matched up to their expectations.

Martin Oxley, buzzback’s MD, will share the findings in full at Vitafoods Europe Summit (being held in Geneva on 10-11 May) to help brands translate a feeling of happiness into brand success.

The women-owned agency conducted the first phase of its happiness study, targeting 1,636 digital respondents living in the US, UK, Brazil and China, between 21 January and 2 February 2022. 

“We know that consumer sentiment, when positive, often leads to confidence and economic growth since most demand is consumer driven,”​ said Martin Oxley, MD of buzzback.

“But what is not clear is how brands can link their activities to this elusive emotional feeling of wellbeing or maybe happiness.

“The world was a very different place when we started this work. Happiness feels like a strange topic right now - or is it more relevant than ever?”


buzzback’s research revealed the majority of consumers (70%) in all regions strongly connect the sentiment with brands that are seen to make sustainability efforts, second after value for money.

Globally, 41% of respondents named sustainability as one of the main values they relate to happiness, while 40% pointed to it as their most important value. These results align with buzzback’s recent Sustainability and Packaging study illustrating how brands with sustainable initiatives are more profitable and their initiatives drive greater purchases.

In fact, 66% of consumers said they would spend more for a product if it came from a sustainable brand; 81% feel strongly that companies should be doing more to help improve the environment; and 40% (especially Millennials) have taken a job because of the company’s sustainability stance.

Giving back

Another critical initiative that promotes consumer happiness is charitable welfare and ‘giving back’, with 69% of respondents saying this is a key factor in making them happy. buzzback’s research also revealed that 68% of consumers are delighted with brands that implement initiatives linked to social responsibility, and are most likely to remember them when it comes to purchases.

Said Oxley, “Brands and building brand intimacy or loyalty are one small way to spark positive feelings and happiness, especially at a time where such devastation is present in the world.

“It’s important for brands to preserve the values and needs that are important to consumers, so that their brand equity stays intact and helps people get through difficult times.”

Headquartered in New York City, with offices in the UK, buzzback is a woman-owned diversity supplier that has won numerous industry and technology awards, including being listed as one of Crain’s 100 Best Places to Work in NYC three years in a row.

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