4 Kinds of Hormone That Trigger Customer Engagement
How neuromarketing tap into your customers’ brain
Since neurosciences have appeared in consumer behavior analysis during the 2000s, marketers have always been skeptical about their relevance.
The neuronal researches done by Coca-Cola on its image or Gap in its rebranding have for example not been very conclusive.
In addition to being expensive devices, RMI and EEG equipment currently only give an imprecise picture of the customers’ emotions when dealing with an ad or a product.
Yet, as we’re waiting to invent more precise solutions, there is one area where research is already promising: the types of hormones that engage consumers and define the emotions associated with marketing experience.
Depending on whether consumers are on a Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, or Testosterone rush, their behavior is predictable and defines a special connection towards brands or products.
According to Daniel Lieberman and Micheal Long in The Molecule of More, some images or designs specifically trigger a molecule like Dopamine, influencing gain-seeking and reward-seeking behaviors.
Each brand needs to play on certain emotions to induce their ideal buying behavior (in this case more impulsive with Dopamine).
Here are 4 examples of brands that each stimulate a specific molecule to create the right emotion in their consumers.
Electrify Your Customers with Dopamine
Dopamine is the well-known neurotransmitter of goal-directed behaviors, defined by excitement, reward-seeking, and pleasure-seeking attitudes.
When your brain is stimulated by Dopamine, it adopts a posture of positive anticipation, actively seeking ways to progress, win, and experience various kinds of pleasure.
To trigger this molecule in your consumers’ heads, you need to put them in a situation of positive ambiguity, facing stories waiting to be resolved and creating a sense of mystery and suspense.
Brands in need of more impulsive and recurring use behaviors often play on these dopamine based emotions.
Social networks in general, such as Facebook, have built their product around anticipations of rewards, through an infinite consumption of new content, push notification, and constant social feedback.
They use basic mechanics that draw user’s attention and unfold unpredictably: you never know what you might discover or read on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest… They push users to increase their social interaction and content creation by awarding them with likes and reacts notifications.
These techniques are the same for dating apps. Tinder design product for example is exclusively based on this quest for novelty, rewards, and approval. You never know who you’re going to meet with the swipe feature. And Tinder’s message is about a continuous dating cycle.
Bond With Them Thanks to Oxytocin.
If Dopamine is the molecule of action and novelty, Oxytocin is the molecule of trust, bonding, and even loving attachment.
Stimulating Oxytocin in your consumers means creating chemistry between them and your brand. It means building a relationship of mutual trust and affinity. It means playing on your consumers’ emotional attachment to your services.
To attract this kind of behavior, it is about creating an emotional connection through storytelling, showing empathy for them, soliciting their loyalty through different programs.
You need to tell a story that speaks to the heart of the consumers, to produce content that responds to their values. You need to value their loyalty with gifts, special promotions to show that you care about them.
In terms of advertising, it can go as far as seeking the status of a loved and adored brand among your consumers. Companies such as British Air Ways, Ben & Jerry’s, or Disney are always looking to create love around their experience.
British Airways ads — such as this famous one- specifically play on the feeling of belonging, homesickness, and of filial and maternal love to rally its customers around the same value. It aims to associate the traveling experience with the love of one’s country.
Trigger Serotonin and Make Them Proud
Serotonin is close to the effects of Oxytocin but does not cause the same feeling.
When you are stimulated by Serotonin, you feel better, more relaxed, satisfied and your pain is reduced. It is linked to the feeling of happiness and contentment when you remember the good times and accomplishments of your past.
According to Simon Sinek in Leaders Eat Last, serotonin appears when you feel admired and respected or feel that admiration and respect for someone. It is a sign that you can trust someone with confidence.
To make your consumers feel these sweet feelings, you need to make them feel that you are exclusively listening to them and dedicated to their satisfaction -that they are in good hands.
Satisfied and reassured testimonials from other customers, cues of trust, experience, and authority, and reliable support can give this image. Advertising that promotes valuable assets and great successes of your company can also impress your consumers.
Brands such as SouthWest, Huggies, Tylenol, Ikea, or Honda play especially on these emotions, valuing their expertise and achievements, and making their customers proud to use their products or services.
“When it comes to customer service, winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” Southwest Airlines
“Safety comes along with every adventure” Honda
Make Their Day with Endorphin
The Endorphin molecule is well known as the happy and relaxed feeling of athletes after their exercise. But it also produces emotions generally related to joy and contentment after having laughed a lot.
Funny pictures and stories can bring the positive effects of endorphin to the body and head. They give us a feeling of well-being and relaxation, which makes us more sympathetic to others.
They also give a colorful and dynamic image that particularly attracts the attention of young and more creative people.
To create these effects, the aim is to provide a tone, message, and visual that is lighter, provocative, and does not take itself too seriously.
Some brands such as Burger King, Wendy’s, Netflix, or Oreo position themselves by using a lot of humor and transgression, associating positive feelings with their product. In particular, they get a lot out of the culture of the permanent clash on Twitter and other social media.
“Spend more time searching than actually watching” Netflix
“The moral is never trust a clown” Burger King about McDonalds
Your turn to find the most appropriate neural trigger for your brand!