You’re swinging through the drive-thru picking up your #PumpkinSpiceLatte—and it’s all free, thanks to your punch card.

That awesome selfie with the perfect filter you posted an hour ago is now at 20 likes…and counting.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, you totally just owned Bobby in that round of Words with Friends.

Feels good, doesn’t it?

That’s because you, my friend, just got a little hit of dopamine.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers.

Psychology Today

It’s the “feel good” hormone.

And when we feel good, we naturally remember it more vividly, which is great for marketers and brands. Tapping into this reward center in consumers’ brains can create positive brand associations and engagement, which can be a big driver for marketing and potential profit.

For consumers, the dopamine release is like candy for the brain—it feels good, thus they will keep coming back for more.

It’s really a win-win for brands and consumers alike.

Triggering the dopamine response can be as simple as making consumers solve a simple puzzle or as extravagant as creating a sophisticated gaming app.

Elements of gamification, such as reward systems, motivational frameworks, positive reinforcement, feedback loops, and emotional and biochemical responses, are all potentially as resonant as any other element in the marketing process.

NeuroScience Marketing

While big brands are able to deploy sophisticated gamification interfaces and the marketing equivalent of high-speed chases and explosions, you don’t have to have a huge marketing budget to take advantage of gamification and the dopamine response.

Here are some simple ways to add gamification to your bag of tricks:


Incorporate badges or virtual rewards


Include a simple puzzle for consumers to solve in your ads


Help consumers discover new information


Reward consumers as they progress through steps in a lengthy process


Incorporate a loyalty program so consumers receive benefits the more they associate with your brand


Build social media sharing into your campaign

We always talk about mixing emotional and rational, art and science. Adding this neuromarketing hack to your toolbox can help you create scientifically feel-good marketing that drives results.

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