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The marketing of a new category: Happiness @ Work 7 take aways, part 2

(go to part 1)

The last two years I have been involved in the marketing of a new startup: The HappinessBureau. Its mission is to make Happiness at Work the norm. In this article, I would like to show the 7 main aspects of our approach we’ve used and are still using in our marketing strategy.

5. Take every opportunity or create it yourself

When the HappinessBureau started, there wasn’t a clear path on which services to develop, which products to sell or which market group to contact first. As a relative new category, we could just start and explore. And most of all: we took every opportunity that was in line with our mission and focus. Just some examples to illustrate:

  • Fortunately, Happiness at work expert is considered to be a profession of the future. But there aren’t many educational trainings to become one. So the HappinessBureau developed one.
  • And when asked by a University of Applied science, we developed it into an official six-day educational course.
  • When the biggest HR publisher in The Netherlands informed about a giving a presentation at one of their conferences, we asked about publishing possibilities. Two months later a book contract was signed.
  • As a combination of the people you know and create opportunities, we thought it should be fun to sponsor an Olympic Athlete. Dutch archer Sjef van den Berg qualified for the Olympic Games and kept the Dutch people in front of their TV’s to see him take the 4th place in Rio di Janeiro. We’ve sponsored him and made a video. The cameraman was a friend from elementary school, talking about using your inner circle J. It’s hard to measure what it did for us, but it was also about doing good and have fun while doing it.
  • Someone asked if she could become a partner. Of course she could and we developed a partnership program which has grown to 22 partners and still counting. Recently we had our first meet-the-partners-event.

When asked to meet someone, Gea almost always accepted the invitation. The lesson we learned was that sometimes it didn’t lead to anything, apart from a nice and interesting conversation. But in some cases, a few weeks (or months) later, it turned into a huge opportunity

The same applies to workshops. In the beginning Gea sometimes conducted workshops (almost) for free, not knowing of this would lead to any follow up opportunities. And sometimes it did and sometimes it didn’t. In this stage of the company, we hardly ever turned down requests.

6. Be innovative and offer continuity

As in each business, focus and persistence is very important. We have two news sites and we notice it directly in our statistics if on a certain day (or week), we don’t publish an article or don’t highlight an article on LinkedIn. For 2018 we’re making a content calendar to bring even more focus in what we want to publish on the sites, and see when we can combine news with e.g. events. We will use chapters of the book that will be published to share information and promote the book at the same time. For the third Happy People – Better Business event on 20 March 2018, we will interview speakers for relevant news and for promoting the event.

But without a formal team of editors it will remain difficult to have news and information on a regular basis. We haven’t found a good solution yet how to attract new editors and keep the expenses low.

Now that organizations are interested in the subject of Happiness at Work and they are inspired by organizations which have implemented it, the next question is: how can we help them to implement Happiness at Work in their organization. There is no one size fits all approach that works for every company but in quite a few cases we saw that it started with measuring how you are doing in the area of Happiness at Work. And like Bill Gates says: ‘If you measure it, you can address it.’

In the last months, we have developed several new services, like surveys. With some personal experience in research and focus on online surveys, it was easy to set up two surveys: one about Happiness at Work from the perspective of the employee and another one focusing on how the organization can facilitate happiness at work. Solid questionnaires that we combine with a new developed set of action based tools (we call Happiness at Work Boosters) that can be tailored depending on the results of the surveys. Insights almost automatically transfer into daily actions. Multinationals are using it and the research benchmark is growing. The research part is in fact growing so fast that we are teaming up with a research company, off course someone we know. I played volleyball with the ceo for many years.

So the lesson here is to develop new products and services when you see possibilities, be able to deliver them and make sure you can provide them to your customers with quality and relevance.

7.    Connect with experts

Being relative new to the field of Happiness at Work, we found out that it is really easy to connect with experts in the field. I guess the nature of Happiness at Work helps here :).

  • We have invited Alexander Kjerulf to our first event, invited him back for a 1 day workshop and organized a combined workshop with him in Suriname and on Curacao. As part of the European tour, we’ll visit Austria in January 2018.
  • When visiting his masterclass in Brussels, we’ve interviewed Ben Witther; also known as Mister Employee Experience
  • In Las Vegas, we did the Zappos tour and interviewed our tour guide and Culture Maestro Ryo Zsu.
  • We sent Tracy Maylett a tweet, co-author of the bestseller ‘The Employee Experience: How to Attract Talent, Retain Top Performers, and Drive Results’, if we could interview him. Off course we could.

The lesson learned here is that you can create more awareness about the subject of Happiness at Work by interviewing experts in the field. And it helped us to create more awareness about our news sites and the HappinessBureau. You can’t do it all by yourself and you don’t have to. Science taught us that it makes you happy when you help someone else. The experts did already know that. 🙂

Are you working in the field of Happiness at Work? Let me know how you market your business!

Lucas Swennen is co-owner of The HappinessBureau

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