….it may seem like an oxymoron, but this woman doesn’t think so. Fast Company story about marketing professor Jennifer Aaker:
“Aaker, who studied psychology alongside marketing, has spent the past several years researching her subject: how people find happiness, keep it, manipulate it, and use it as a resource. Her research defines happiness as “a state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.” In 2006, when Aaker was focusing her area of study, happiness seemed, in many ways, an easier goal to attain. People felt more economically secure. The annual unemployment rate was 4.6%. The government urged Americans to buy homes, and access to credit was easy. Now, in the aftermath of the Great Recession, national morale is low; marketers see the appeal of promising happiness along with their products.
Aaker’s students and the executives she speaks to are often surprised by the depth and subtlety behind such fuzzy feelings. Aaker asked her students to develop their own plans for incorporating happiness into a fictional company. She also had them use a custom-built smartphone app to take at least one photo of a happy moment every day for 30 days, and then rate each moment on a scale of 1 to 10 to quantify their feelings. Soon, the class saw patterns.
They learned that the anticipation of a pleasurable experience feels as good as finishing an onerous task (like a marathon or an exam). They discovered that a meaningful experience (acquiring a new skill, volunteering, or spending time with family) often makes people happier than moments of pure pleasure. And they learned that happiness shifts with age. Younger people feel happiest when they are excited, while older people equate happiness with peacefulness.”