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Brief Published: 5 Aug 2021

The Global Joy Recession: What Brands Can Do

NPR's Joy Generator

According to Gallup’s recent 2021 Global Emotions Report, 2020 was the most stressful year in recent history. Delight, therefore, has never been more in demand. Brands that cultivate moments of joy and comfort are sure to win with consumers still dealing with the stress and sadness of the pandemic.

  • A Record Low: Published in July, the US-based analytics company’s report paints a bleak picture around the globe. More consumers reported feeling stressed, sad, worried and angry in 2020 than at any previous point in Gallup’s 15 years of emotion tracking. In the last year, the percentage who said they’d smiled or laughed a lot the previous day dropped five points to 70% – again the lowest rate recorded by Gallup. To understand the emotional and mental strain of Covid-19, see The Silent Pandemic.
    But this trend is not simply ascribed to the pandemic; according to Gallup, the upsurge of global negative sentiment began almost 10 years ago, and is predicted to continue in this trajectory. It has never been more crucial for brands to prioritise consumer joy.
  • The Demand for Delight: Learn from US media organisation NPR, which launched a new website in June – the Joy Generator, which provides scientifically backed prompts that inspire feelings of calm. For example, users are encouraged to ‘reminisce’ and listen to sounds that recall a core memory. Nostalgia is proven to be a powerful psychological response during times of distress as it produces feelings of comfort (see The Brief for more).
    Other prompts include listening to sounds of nature or engaging with ASMR – the tingly sensation when listening to specific audible triggers that is known to help people relax.