If you want loyal customers, make sure you brand gives them a great rush of dopamine

Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian

By: Dalibor Šumiga, the director and founder, Promosapiens

If somebody asked you to look back at the important moments of your life, some would be the happiest ones and some probably the saddest ones. You’d probably single out your graduation day, when you got married or became a parent, when you lost someone dear to you, achieved a professional success or visited somewhere special. If you had to sum up your life, you’d leave out the more mundane bits such as brushing your teeth or going shopping.

So, in a nutshell, it is a story full of excitement and happiness on one side and sadness and sorrow on the other. Our life resembles the McDonald’s graph in the picture bellow.

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Of course, I’m joking, there’s no McDonald’s graph, but you must admit the picture is an interesting and an accurate one.

It is all dopamine’s fault!

In our brains, there are neurotransmitters, chemical messengers between millions of neurons. One of them is dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior.

Dopamine is the major chemical in marketing, and marketing people are our dopamine “dealers”.

The brain releases large quantities of it when we eat sugary foods, make love, discover new things, go shopping or receive a friends request.

Unfortunately, the biggest dopamine rush happens when we take drugs and get feelings of false euphoria that can only be repeated by taking more opiates and become addict.

In this article, we’ll talk about positive dopamine effects.

Case study: Find the baby elephant

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In order to explain the dopamine effect, I will tell you about an experiment we did for one of our clients. I’m asking you to take a minute of your time, watch the video and count how many times you see the baby elephant.

Done it? The correct answer is at the end of this article, but before you scroll down, allow me to explain more about this experiment…

How to keep a customers attention for 4 minutes?

The video clip you just watched is an edited version of the original 4 minute one created for the how-to guide in using the product.

Our client wanted to show the video on Facebook to achieve the maximum number of people viewing the whole video.

That is why we created an experiment like the one you took part in earlier – we asked the participants to count the number of times they saw a baby elephant in a 4 minute video.

The results?

Compared to the industry benchmark, 50% more of the participants saw the whole video

By the same measure, there was 30% more brand recall.

The cost of reaching one consumer equates to 0,0002$.

Since our field of expertise is not your typical digital advertising but behavioural marketing, I will explain the background of the experiment and its success.

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In order to build a brand successfully you need to show it frequently to potential buyers and always in a positive way.

The reason for it lies in our brains – the more a person is exposed to a brand the less energy is required by the brain to process the information and sees it as something positive and safe. And don’t forget, the main role of the brain is to keep us safe.

Furthermore, you shouldn’t expose your brand just for the sake of it. It needs to be shown in a positive light in order for the brain to build an affirmative network of associations with your brand.

I’ll explain this further – if I ask you to tell me five things you think of when your brand is mentioned, all five should be positive. That is an affirmative network of associations.

What happened in the brains of those participants who counted the baby elephants?

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Gamification is a very powerful marketing tool, we all have a Peter Pan within us and enjoy a challenge and competition. The first dopamine rush happened whilst looking out for a baby elephant. The second dopamine rush was caused whenever they spotted one.

Also, when we start a task, our brain creates a shortcut called a unit bias – a tendency to finish what we started, this is what made participants want to see the whole video.

And, in the end, remember the above mentioned associative network – in this experiment, the participants were exposed to a logotype (a baby elephant), and each time they spotted one there was  a rush of dopamine thereby establishing an  affirmative association network, by creating a positive long term memory associated with the logo of a brand.

As you can see, dopamine is a truly magical ingredient, not only in marketing but in our lives. If you want loyal customers, make sure your brand gives them a great rush of dopamine.


The baby elephant appears 7 times. 🙂