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adding positive brand messaging and activation into your brand strategy


In the past two years, worldwide rates of anxiety and depression have increased by 25%. Post-pandemic life is slowly settling back into a normal rhythm, but people in every walk of life are still reeling from the years of stress, fear and uncertainty. With 45% of people globally reporting they have not felt true happiness for more than two years, consumers are longing for joyful experiences. Today’s consumers are in massive need of moments of happiness, and the great news is that some of these moments can be provided by your brand!

the power of emotion in branding 

From inspirational documentaries to lighthearted baking competition series on Netflix, consumers are searching for opportunities to smile…and many of those opportunities come in the form of shopping. As global ecommerce continues its meteoric rise, people’s expectations of brand messaging also continue to increase. In fact, 72% of consumers say they would choose a brand that uses humor over a competitive brand that doesn’t. According to a 2022 branding and design research survey of more than 12,000 consumers dubbed “The Happiness Report,” humor can help to improve brand connection. In fact, the report found that “people are searching for new experiences to make them smile and laugh and will reward brands that embrace humor with loyalty, advocacy, and repeat purchases, and walk away from those that don’t.” 

how can your brand deliver happiness?  

As a branding and design agency, (matter) views this consumer need for happiness as a unique branding opportunity. Brands can expand or pivot their existing personalities to bring happiness to consumers by understanding them: more specifically, what does your key demographic need and want, and what do they already know and have? How do they prefer to experience life, and how do they enjoy spending their time? Knowing your audience allows your brand to create the perfect mix of wit and brand personality that will improve consumer mood and drive consumer loyalty. 

If incorporating humor into your branding and design sounds challenging, remember that consumers view your brand’s personality similarly to the way they view friends. Branding and consumer behavioral economics research reveals that consumers perceive and are attracted to the same type of personality characteristics in brands as they are in humans. Further research suggests that a consumer’s emotional response to an ad influences their buying decision far more than the actual ad content. Remember that branding is a relationship your business builds with its audience, and that relationship can include serious moments as well as times of levity and fun.  

five easy ways to use positive brand messaging 

Your brand’s personality can be quickly communicated through packaging, visual imagery, marketing campaigns and even the vocabulary used to describe your brand. Today’s consumers are searching for brands that consistently convey characteristics of generosity, playfulness, trustworthiness and happiness. They want to connect with a brand narrative that uses visuals and voice to communicate who the brand is, what it means to the consumer and why the consumer should care. Businesses can expand their brand personalities to add joy to the lives of their consumers simply by utilizing a few well-researched and data-backed activations. 

These happy activations could include website updates, ad campaigns, social media posts or in-store experiences. Imagine the joy your brand could spread through humorous branded Instagram Reels or Tik Toks! Your brand can also provide enjoyment through redesigned packaging, product textures, functionalities and scents, or through the emotional experience your products create when they’re used. To help you add positive brand messaging and activations to your brand strategy, here are a few tried-and-true branding and design tips.

1. Make it funny! 

One key component of bringing happiness to your consumers is through the use of humor. Humor can create a shared experience between audiences and brands and forge a personal connection. Making consumers laugh can help humanize a company in a fresh way and make a brand more approachable. When using humor in marketing activations, steer clear of any messaging that could be interpreted as snarky, exclusive or cringy. Need a few examples of brands that use humor to build connection and add joy? Think Snickers, Dollar Shave Club or Old Spice! 

2. Use pops of color.  

The human brain processes visual information like colors and shapes before it processes words, so colors are one of the first things people will recognize about your brand. Adding bold colors to your brand messaging is a surefire way to brighten a marketing moment and make consumers smile. Just be careful to not allow too many colors to weaken your brand presence. Bold colors are a powerful tool, but they must be used consistently and intentionally across communications. If you need some inspiration from a few well-known brands that successfully incorporate pops of color, take a look at Target, Coca Cola or Dunkin Donuts. 

3. Foster emotional connection. 

An often overlooked but very powerful component of positive brand messaging is emotional connection. In fact, a case study of 1,400 successful ad campaigns found that campaigns with purely emotional content performed nearly twice as well as campaigns with purely rational content. This emotional connection might look like giving your consumers a feeling of freedom by using your products, or a sense of life balance by using your stress-free services. When used correctly, positive messaging drives emotional connection which in turn drives brand loyalty. Brands that have successfully used emotion in marketing include Verizon’s pandemic-themed campaign, or the multiple variations of Nike’s ever-famous “Just Do It” campaign. 

4. Stand for a good cause. 

Today’s consumers are prioritizing brand values. They care about where brands stand on social issues and choose to support brands that align with their personal virtues. According to a recent Kantar Monitor report, 68% of US consumers expect brands to be clear about their values, 46% of millennials expect brands to be brave and speak out, and 31% of Gen X expects brands to take a public stance on social issues. To truly connect with these consumers, take a closer look at how your brand messaging can pivot or expand to highlight the issues you care about and the ways in which you’re affecting positive change with your business. Brands that have aligned themselves with positive social causes include Ben and Jerry’s, Coca-Cola and Samsung. 

5. Be authentic. 

Above all, the best way to use your brand messaging to bring joy to consumers is to stay true to your foundation. Your brand’s core values should form the backbone of your marketing strategy, so expressing positivity and happiness to consumers should come from a very authentic place. Be careful to not pour the positivity on too strongly, or your messaging will read as fake and deceptive. Instead, focus on communicating your brand values in an authentic way to show consumers that you not only stand behind your products, but that you are a genuine, unwavering brand that can be trusted.  

Sometimes the intangible positivity you communicate is just as important as the tangible product you provide. As a branding and design agency, (matter) knows that while data drives marketing decisions, positive brand messaging connects with consumers, and any successful brand needs a solid mix of both to take their marketing campaigns, social posts, website content and in-store experiences to the next level. Reach out to the (matter) team today to find out how we can work together to add positive brand messaging and activations to your brand strategy!