93% Indians prefer brands to be funny: Oracle Happiness Report

As per the new research report, Indians want brands to make them smile and laugh but business leaders fear using humour in customer interactions

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93% Indians prefer brands to be funny: Oracle Happiness Report

Indians want brands to make them smile and laugh but business leaders fear using humour in customer interactions, according to a new research report from Oracle Fusion Cloud Customer Experience (CX) and Gretchen Rubin.

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 humour with loyalty, advocacy, and repeat purchases, and walk away from those that don’t.

Some key highlights from the report are enlisted below.

People in India are searching for happiness in new ways and are willing to pay a premium:

  • In India, 47% (45% global) of respondents said they have not felt true happiness for more than two years and 17% (25% global) don’t know or have forgotten, what it means to feel truly happy.
  • 96% (88% global) of respondents from India are looking for new experiences to make them smile and laugh. People in India are prioritising health (70%), personal connections (72%), and experiences (44%) to gain happiness. Globally, people are prioritising health (80%), personal connections (79%), and experiences (53%) to gain happiness.
  • More than half of Indian respondents (64%) wish money could buy happiness (5 % global), with 87% (78% global) willing to pay a premium for true happiness.
  • 96% Indian respondents (89% global) attempted to find happiness in online shopping during the pandemic and while 60% (47% global) said that receiving packages made them happy, 16% (12% 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 humour to engage with customers.

  • 92% of respondents from India (78% global) believe brands can do more to deliver happiness to their customers and 93% (91% global) said they preferred brands to be funny; this number increased among Gen Z (96%; globally 94%) and millennials (96%; globally 94%).
  • In India, 93% (globally 90%) are more likely to remember ads that are funny, yet business leaders in India said that only 4% (globally 20%) of their brands’ offline ads (TV, billboards) and 4% of their online ads actively use humour.
  • 77% (globally, 77%) of people are more likely to buy from a salesperson that is funny, yet only 5% (globally 16%) of business leaders said that their brands use humour to sell.
  • 85% (globally, 75%) of respondents from India would follow a brand if it’s funny on its social media channels, yet only 3% (globally 15%) of business leaders said their brand is humorous on social. 
  • In India, 78% (globally 69%) of people would open an email from a brand if the subject line were funnier, yet only 7% (globally 24%) of business leaders from India said they actively use humour in email marketing campaigns.
  • In India, 83% (globally 68%) would prefer to engage with a chatbot/digital assistant that is funny, yet only 9% (globally 27%) of Indian business leaders said their brands actively incorporate humour 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% (48% global) of people don’t believe they have a relationship with a brand unless it makes them smile or laugh and 56% (41%) would walk away from a brand if it didn’t make them laugh or smile regularly.
  • If a brand uses humour, Indian people are more likely to buy from the brand again (86%; 80% global), recommend the brand to family and friends (88%; 80% global), choose the brand over the competition (80%; 72% global), and spend more with a brand (78%, 63% global).
  • 97% business leaders in India (89% global) see the opportunity to use humour to enhance the customer experience and believe that their brand can do more to make customers laugh or smile.
  • 83% of business leaders in India (95% global) fear using humour in customer interactions. 
  • In India, 94% (85% global) of business leaders state that they do not have the data insights or tools to successfully deliver humour. Business leaders would be more confident using humour when engaging with customers if they had better customer visibility (61%; 55% global) and access to advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (57%; 32% global). 

Deepa Param Singhal, Vice-President, Applications, Oracle India, said, “The last two years negatively impacted people’s happiness around the world. At present, in the post-pandemic era when the economy has opened up, people are looking for happiness and newer experiences in every sense possible, and across industries. While brands might not have fully incorporated these needs in their strategies yet, it presents a great opportunity for them to grabbing the consumer attention, especially the Gen Z and millennials community who have been impacted emotionally a lot, by adopting unique marketing strategies which have an essence of humour and joy. With this different approach, brands will be able to create long-term relationships with their customers thereby facilitating a sustainable growth. Business leaders should not stigmatise humour as something which can belittle their brand identity and rather look at it as an opportunity.”

Jessie Paul, CEO Paul Writer and Marketing Expert, said, “I’ve been a fan of using humour in marketing right from my first ad campaign in 1996. Humour allows us to communicate uncomfortable truths or difficult concepts in a friendly way adding fun to the narrative.  The campaigns have always worked but getting approval for them has usually involved a fair bit of negotiation with the bosses given the fear of humour backfiring.  It’s good news to find that Indian bosses are more receptive to humour than most - only 83% in India are afraid to do so vs the 95% globally. These findings from the Oracle Happiness Report show that consumers like humour from brands and 78% of Indians said they will spend more with a brand is definitely a great data point for marketers.”

“Humour is often considered risky because it does not translate or travel well. However, Brands need to be careful to not appear to be laughing at the expense of their customers in any way - that’s when the possibility for offense arises. Thanks to emerging technologies and the right use of data and insights through digital interactions are helping brands redevise their strategies and tactics. Brands and their ambassadors can laugh at themselves or their competition or their products to drive the happiness quotient. Done with finesse they can laugh all the way to the bank.”

Gretchen Rubin, five-time New York Times bestseller author and podcaster, said, “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.” “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 humour, personality and brand experience that will drive loyalty and brand advocacy.”

Link to the global report can be accessed by clicking here.

Oracle Happiness Report 93% Indians prefer brands to be funny