Indians want brands to make them smile and laugh, but business leaders fear using humor in customer interactions according to a new research report from Oracle Fusion Cloud Customer Experience (CX) and Gretchen Rubin, five-time New York Times bestselling author and podcaster. The Happiness Report includes insights from more than 12,000 consumers and business leaders across 14 countries, 1,012 from India 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.
People in India are searching for happiness in new ways and are willing to pay a premium
It has been more than two years since many people last felt true happiness and they are searching for ways to be happy again, no matter the cost.
- In India, 47 percent (45 percent global) of respondents said they have not felt true happiness for more than two years and 17 percent (25 percent global) don’t know or have forgotten, what it means to feel truly happy.
- 96 percent (88 percent global) of respondents from India are looking for new experiences to make them smile and laugh. People in India are prioritizing health (70 percent), personal connections (72 percent), and experiences (44 percent) to gain happiness. Globally, people are prioritizing health (80 percent), personal connections (79 percent), and experiences (53 percent) to gain happiness.
- More than half of Indian respondents (64 percent) wish money could buy happiness (53 percent global), with 87 percent (78 percent global) willing to pay a premium for true happiness.
- 96 percent Indian respondents (89 percent global) attempted to find happiness in online shopping during the pandemic and while 60 percent (47 percent global) said that receiving packages made them happy, 16 percent (12 percent global) struggled to remember the purchases they had made online.
Advertising, marketing, sales, and customer service interactions need to change
Indians want brands to make them smile and laugh, but business leaders admit their brands rarely use humor to engage with customers.
- 92 percent of respondents from India (78 percent global) believe brands can do more to deliver happiness to their customers and 93 percent (91 percent global) said they preferred brands to be funny; this number increased among Gen Z (96 percent; globally 94 percent) and Millennials (96 percent; globally 94 percent).
- In India, 93 percent (globally 90 percent) are more likely to remember ads that are funny, yet business leaders in India said that only 4 percent (globally 20 percent) of their brands’ offline ads (TV, billboards) and 4 percent of their online ads actively use humor.
- 77 percent (globally, 77 percent) of people are more likely to buy from a salesperson that is funny, yet only 5 percent (globally 16 percent) of business leaders said that their brands use humor to sell.
- 85 percent (globally, 75 percent) of respondents from India would follow a brand if it’s funny on its social media channels, yet only 3 percent (globally 15 percent) of business leaders said their brand is humorous on social.
- In India, 78 percent (globally 69 percent) of people would open an email from a brand if the subject line were funnier, yet only 7 percent (globally 24 percent) of business leaders from India said they actively use humor in email marketing campaigns.
- In India, 83 percent (globally 68 percent) would prefer to engage with a chatbot/digital assistant that is funny, yet only 9 percent (globally 27 percent) of Indian business leaders said their brands actively incorporate humor into bot communications.
Smiles and laughter pay dividends, but business leaders are afraid to joke around
People will reward brands that embrace humor with loyalty, advocacy, and repeat purchases and will walk away from those that don’t.
- In India, 64 percent (48 percent global) of people don’t believe they have a relationship with a brand unless it makes them smile or laugh and 56 percent (41 percent) would walk away from a brand if it didn’t make them laugh or smile regularly.
- If a brand uses humor, Indian people are more likely to buy from the brand again (86 percent; 80 percent global), recommend the brand to family and friends (88 percent; 80 percent global), choose the brand over the competition (80 percent; 72 percent global), and spend more with a brand (78 percent, 63 percent global).
- 97 percent business leaders in India (89 percent global) see the opportunity to use humor to enhance the customer experience and believe that their brand can do more to make customers laugh or smile.
- 83 percent of business leaders in India (95 percent global) fear using humor in customer interactions.
- In India, 94 percent (85 percent global) of business leaders state that they do not have the data insights or tools to successfully deliver humor. Business leaders would be more confident using humor when engaging with customers if they had better customer visibility (61 percent; 55 percent global) and access to advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (57 percent; 32 percent global).
“The last few years have had a significant impact on our lives for all. Now that the world has returned to some semblance of normalcy, everyone wants to reclaim control of their lives and enjoy the moment. Our findings revealed that the pandemic, and rightly so, changed what it means to be happy,” said Deepa Param Singhal, Vice President, Applications, Oracle India
“Our statistics highlight that people believe that brands can do more to make customers happy and they are more likely to buy from a salesperson that is engaging. It is evident that consumers want to interact with brands on a more personal level. Customers want to enjoy themselves and feel welcomed and brands must embrace this change in order to drive brand engagement, loyalty, and customer satisfaction.”
“Technology and data can be a huge enabler here, providing retailers with the appropriate statistics and means. These can enable retailers with improved consumer visibility as well as platforms for engaging more deeply at a personal level with customers, thereby making them happy and content,” Singhal added.
“We’ve all been through some very tough years, and happiness around the world is lacking. We’re starved for experiences that make us laugh and smile, but brands can help,” Gretchen Rubin, five-time New York Times bestseller author and podcaster. “For brands looking to contribute to the happiness of their target audience, it starts with data and knowing your customers. Only then, can you bring the appropriate mix of humor, personality and brand experience that will drive loyalty and brand advocacy.”