02 May Dealing with dope junkies
Dopamine. The neurotransmitter that is the cornerstone of consumerism.
It’s triggered by the promise of a reward and peaks at the moment just prior to a perceived reward. And it’s not just major paybacks that trigger dopamine. When you reach for your mobile phone and press that mail app and wait as your screen loads, dopamine is flooding your brain and giving you a sense of pleasure as you wait for the perverse reward of a digital interaction with someone.
And guess what, we’re all hooked on it. The reality is most of your customers are hopelessly, fiendishly addicted to dopamine. Young people in particular are hooked on the digital dopamine effect. They’ve been programmed from an early age to gain physiological reward from social media. This has huge implications for relationships, friendships, work and personal life.
So knowing that your customers are dope junkies looking for their next hit, how can brands ethically leverage this phenomenon? Indeed, should they? We believe dopamine can be triggered in a number of responsible ways. It’s about understanding your customers, what excites them, what they see as a reward and how that reward relates to your brand. This requires a deep understanding of the value exchange. One way to do this is to create customer learning programmes that identify emotionally charged moments-of-truth. Brands can then consistently provide value through relevant content & experiences; be that expert advice, entertainment, useful information or just being there with the right message at the right time. All of these activities trigger a customer dopamine spike, because you are rewarding them, and so they will be more likely to reward you.
Does this make you a marketing drug dealer? Well, whether you think you are or not, you’re probably right.