Dopamine … if you’re like me, the first thing you thought of is the movie “Awakenings” where they gave it to patients to take them out of their frozen state of being.
Well, as it turns out dopamine has a lot to do with marketing as well.
Why? Because dopamine drives the consumer to act.
The human mind is designed to seek happiness. It is natural for us to seek anything that provides us with pleasure and to avoid anything we dislike.
Over hundreds of generations, we have been quite successful in shaping the world to allow us to have more of the former and much less of the latter, largely by controlling and regulating most things that cause us anxiety and discomfort.
Yet somehow, we still find it difficult to experience happiness, especially over an extended period of time.
Why? The problem is that we are not designed to be happy but rather to pursue happiness.
Humans have a built-in drive to get more of whatever we believe will make us feel happy. Having this drive to seek happiness built into our brain circuitry is a dangerous thing; we have to keep seeking, which of course means that we can’t enjoy the happiness we have already found for any length of time. All too soon, we become used to what we’ve got and feel the need to strive for more. We convince ourselves that this next conquest or achievement will finally bring us happiness. However, as soon as we realize our new goal, the cycle sets in again.
The substance that drives us to achieve or experience more is the neurotransmitter dopamine, and dopamine levels are connected to expected future rewards. When we achieve something we can be happy about, our brain releases dopamine and we feel happy. But soon we seek another dopamine release, making us feel somewhat less that satisfied with what we have got.
We then feel the need to achieve something better, more impressive or more challenging, or we simply desire more of the same. We are convinced that we will be happier when we have conquered and won the new prize we seek. Unfortunately, we will again only be happy for a short time before dopamine drives us to seek further wins.
And so the cycle continues.
Knowing this as a marketer, along with other ways the brain works is ever more vital in order to get the most out of our brand strategies moving forward.
Not to mention the fact that it explains a lot about Candy Crush.
The above is paraphrased from the book “Neurobranding” by Peter Steidl – one of Legends & Leaders’ newest coaches – available in the Neuromarketing and Integrated Comms module.