Happiness is the bottom line
Situation: In 2011, the United Nations passed a unanimous declaration urging member nations to place the “Pursuit of Happiness” rather than economic growth at the forefront of their development agendas, and to find ways to measure its success. Programs aimed at assessing well being, and coupling the results to formulate public policy, have spread across the globe from Bhutan to Brazil to the United Kingdom, and to Australia, Canada, and China.
According to Dr. Merle Lefkoff of the Center for Emergent Diplomacy, “Across the planet, people increasingly demand that we replace the current global, consumption-based economic system, measured by GDP, with a new system, called Gross National Happiness (GNH). GNH is based on a comprehensive list of conditions that lead to human happiness and well-being. They include measures of satisfaction with life, the health of citizens, community vitality, social support networks, access to education and to the arts, protection of the environment, and governance that reflects the desires of the people, among other life-enhancing indicators.”
Here in the U.S., the Seattle-based Happiness Initiative is leading a campaign for citizens to take a well being survey that has now been used in many communities around the country — including Santa Fe, New Mexico, our hometown. Approach: The Center for Emergent Diplomacy asked us to help brand Santa Fe, NM as a Happiness City. We were happy to do it. Knowing that the root of this movement goes way beyond measuring prosperity through material growth to include the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of its citizens and natural environment, we came up with the branding line, “Happiness is the bottom line” with a graphic the flies the face of what we would normally equate with any “bottom line”. We made sure we didn’t use the color of money or IBM blue to communicate this. Instead upbeat and happy hues were used.
Impact: The City of Santa Fe and the Center for Emergent Diplomacy ran with it and our campaign resulted in hundreds of community members taking the Happiness Survey — coupled with a week of activities for Santa Feans to learn, experience and embrace what a Happiness City really means.