Is “Happiness” Enough to Build a Community?

This week in MediaPost we found Coca-Cola is publishing an iOS app called ‘happyplaces’ described as, “”that place where you can upload photos of your happy moments, share them, and remember them any time you want… and share that moment of happiness with your followers in Happy Places, or your friends in Facebook or Twitter.”  It appears to be an extension of their gloal strategy that began with a web or pc based application for social scrap booking.

Coca-Cola Happy Places

Coca-Cola creates an app similar to Instagram

While their thought process is clear, it’s in the execution and possible (not so) hidden agenda behind the happy app that you might call into question.  Could Coca-Cola want their customers and non-customers to post ALL pics of their happy moments?  What if the person is happiest drinking a Pepsi?  I wonder how that would look in their photo stream?  It seems there may be a conflict here.  And and opportunity for competitors to take advantage of..  well.

When doing a Google search on the above description, folks were already being critical, but it’s also clear Coca-Cola’s “mighty marketing muscle and impressive global reach means it has the ability to reach out to whole new audiences that most photo-sharing services never even dream of,” noted

It’s clear, Coca-Cola has a lot of resources to throw at this marketing program and the ‘buzz’ and reach they can achieve on the net is incredible (while not all for the better.)

For example, we found Crap Brapps had a take on the new app on their blog that “WELCOMES YOU TO THE WORLD OF CRAP BRANDED APPS.”  Their take was “My Happy place would be watching a group of angry carnivorous beavers chewing at the crotch of whoever said this would be a smart idea.”  Which was not so flattering, but I found it to be quite funny (so, I guess you could say they produced a happy place for me?)

The blog was found on Tumblr whose community rivals that of Instagram.  This was interesting to me as we’ve discussed the differences between the two communities in a previous post.  There are many conversations discussing the possibilities of Twitter ‘purchasing’ the Tumblr blogging community.  There are many opinions which strongly discourage the idea.

Which brings me back to Instagram (ala Facebook) vs. the future of Twitter’s pic app that will undoubtedly be a significant competitor.  Since last week, Instagram recently published their intention to create web or PC enabled presence of user profiles.  It’s a great time to be focused on the social opportunities or relationships that can develop within a community such as Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit or even the soon to be Twitter experience.

I believe the proof is in the pudding or actually the ‘utility’ the application can provide to it’s users (consumers) and customers, many of which are the same.  I believe there is something to the ability to ‘find’ and ‘share’ your moments of happiness via the web.

I believe in the ability for one to improve ones lives through other’s experiences.  Being “in the know” while “on the go.”  I don’t think there is anything more empowering than having instant knowledge of “what’s going on around you” in the fast paced world.  With one caveat, this knowledge must be ‘actionable.”  There is nothing more discouraging then finding something of interest ‘after the fact’ and being unable to to take action on this new found information.

Since last week, I’ve found Eventbrite, a company who provides tools for registering and ticketing, their tagline is: “If it’s happening out there you’ll find it here.  Browse 1000s of events. Or create your own events and sell tickets right here.”  The new mobile app was found via Passport on my new iPhone5 which lets you find what’s going on via their database of ongoing events, most of which are ‘ticketed’ events.  I believe this could be more useful in helping a user ‘take action’ on local knowledge of things going on.  There are many apps trying to deliver a better experience for users to seek out interesting events and things to do.

The community and how it’s developed is the single most important part of the equation.  Apps and interfaces, brands and supporting organizations all fail unless a high quality community of individuals take up the experience and share their lives with others based on a common vision (knowing or unknowingly.)  Social networking, no doubt can help build relationships and creates network effects for communities, but the challenge (or trick) is getting folks to work in coordination (toward a common purpose).  The community must be ‘trusted’ and seamlessly integrated into our lives through ‘word of mouth’, to make our lives more efficient, more collaborative, richer-better.

Circling back to Coca-Cola’s experience above.  I’m not sure if ‘drinking a common soft-drink” or even the grand vision of “extending happiness” is enough to build a community, but it’s a start.  Maybe the answers to building a common vision, or collaborative community lie somewhere ‘in between’?

I’d love to hear your thoughts of what motivates you to ‘share your lives’, your happiness with your following or community..
Until next time..

Frequently used words
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