Let’s face it, we could alldo with a little lighthearted fun once in a while.
Last June, I and the Trends team discovered that adults were increasingly searching what we called “kidding around terms:” like “fairytale bedrooms for adults,” “adult pigtails,” and the funny list continued.
As it turns out, the party was just getting started: from our follow-up research, we’re seeing consumers continue their search for positivity and jubilance. And, brands are taking notice. Here are three trends we’ve been watching in the “joyconomy” space.
3 Joyconomy Trends to Watch
1. Playful Brand Expansions
Over the past two years, brands have tweaked their offerings, brand expansions, and campaigns to encourage optimism and childlike abandon. For example:
Shortly after, Moxy Hotels’ Manhattan branch launched their Playful Stays tooffer“endless amusements enlivened with the spirit of the absurd.” Amenities included game rooms, pinball arcades, dress-up items, and Instagram-worthy decor.
How can you leverage similar tactics?
If you’re an entrepreneur with more time and control over your brand, you could also rebrand offerings traditionally focused on children, or introduce playfulness through product experience — like Seth Rogan’s cannabis brand Houseplant, which recently unveiled newcollectible, Lego-like packaging(this one isclearlyonly for adults).
But, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, know a celebrity, build a large-scale rebrand, or own a big company to provide people with moments of fun and emotional release.
Yes, social media comes with a LOT of negativity these days. And, a lot of platforms will do the opposite of creating joy. But, here us out.
Just when you think the market is saturated with negative, duplicative social media channels, a new entrant comes along, knocks it out of the park, and demonstrates a new vibe we can all consider digging into.
The most recent winner? A social positivity app for teens.
Gas, which allows users to anonymously compliment each other, launched late last August. By the following October, it hadhit the top spoton the App Store (beating even TikTok), and by December it had reached10mdownloads and $6 million in sales.
This focus on social positivity is echoed by new community appNiche, hot off a$1.8-million pre-seed raise. Users join close-knit social clubs around shared identities or interests, and clubs are often centered on positivity — likeHit of Happiness.
More than ever, consumers are clearly looking for positive modes of engagement, intimacy, and support online. People want to feel a sense of belonging that current platforms (Facebook, Instagram)just can’t offer.
While brand strategists can continue to keep positive platforms (and the trends emerging on them) on their radar, entrepreneurs could compete directly with niche social platforms, designed around positivity and uplift, for specific markets likeseniorsor theLGBTQ+community.
3. Joy-First Product Offerings
A great example of a brand that prioritized the “joyconomy” on social media is athleisure brand JoJa, which has a strong social presence built on motivating and positive content and recently launched a community-focused exercise app.
JoJa’s new platform aims to foster intimacy by gathering like-minded individuals who can bond over shared workouts, beauty tips, and nutrition advice. Members can also unlock exclusive JoJa clothing discounts by completing fitness challenges.
They aren’t the only activewear brand jumping on the playfulness and community trends.
Set Active just launched a “community-driven” brick-and-mortar store,inspiredby childhood field trips to museums, as well as a Community Collection, which features designs chosen by fans.
Meanwhile, Psychologist Kelly McGonigal put a simple — yet positive spin on the much-seen fitness business model by launching theJoy Workout, which includes movements scientifically shown to elicit positive emotions (like bounces, sways, jumps, and a move McGonigal calls “celebrate,” which mimicstossing confetti).
Joining in on the fun is Pony Sweat, an ’80s-style dance fitness company thatchampions“anti-perfectionism and radical self-acceptance.”
They’ve seen their Instagram followingmore than doublesince 2020, and have since launched virtual class options and a community Discord server.
Start Engaging Happy Audiences
Ultimately, brands don’t have to open physical stores or develop their own app to give intimate community building, or positive motivation a go. They just need a bit of creativity, and — ideally — interests in making their audience jump for joy.
Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published in Trends’ Premium Newsletter and was recently edited, updated, and adapted for the HubSpot Blog.