Joy in the Now, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity

Strategygram: Joy in the Present

ET BrandEquity.com brings part thirty-six in the Strategygram series.

This Strategygram titled ‘Joy in the Now’ is part of a series created by brand strategy consultant Sattar Khan. Each Strategygram condenses a strategic thought into a single image. The collectible series is a visual guide to strategic thinking and provides handy image prompts for your branding workouts.

If you come at four o’clock in the afternoon, I will start to be happy at three o’clock,said Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, expressing a truth about human emotions by The little Princethe short story which has sold over 140 million copies worldwide and has been translated into over 505 languages ​​and dialects.

Our happiness begins in the anticipation of an imminent pleasurable experience. When we shop at a retail store, we want to take ownership of our purchase and move on, but that’s different when it comes to buying experiences, such as a vacation in a vacation destination. Our fun begins in anticipation: we fantasize about what we’ll do and discover, we imagine the types of people we’ll see and meet, we imagine sharing vacation stories with our friends, family and co-workers. .

We don’t have a term in English for this joy of anticipation—some languages ​​do: it’s waku-waku in Japanese, for example – but linguistics aside, could there be so much dopamine produced in our brains when we are anticipating something nice like when we are consuming in the present, or remember that later?

Take, for example, a series of experiments conducted on monkeys, reported by the famous neuroscientist P. Read Montague and his colleagues from The Journal of NeuroscienceMarch 1, 1996 edition.

The researchers implanted electrodes in the dopamine-producing regions of the brains of several monkeys. They then conditioned the monkeys to press a lever to get a reward – fruit juice – for correctly pressing the lever. Each time the monkeys acquired the juice, their dopamine neurons started firing.

Next, the researchers conditioned the monkeys to anticipate the reward by turning on a light before the monkeys received the fruit juice. When the light came on, dopamine levels in the monkeys spiked in anticipation of the fruit juice.

What’s important to the marketers is that the monkeys’ dopamine levels rose when the light came on, that is, when the monkeys were anticipating get the fruit juice—and didn’t get up further when the monkeys were consuming fruit juice.

Take a look at a study by neuroscientist Samuel McClure and colleagues, as reported in the journal Neuron, October 14, 2004 issue.

Researchers took the world’s two most famous cola soft drink brands and conducted taste tests among study respondents. Respondents’ neurological responses were tracked with fMRIs (which is more difficult than it first appears, as a person’s head has to move when they swallow a soft drink).

When both brands of cola soft drinks were given to respondents in no-name cups, i.e., in a blind product test, respondents preferred the taste of one brand over the other. When respondents were then given the colas in cups showing their brand names, the preference shifted to the other brand.

This, of course, is not new – we have often witnessed a shift in brand preference between blind product testing and named product testing. What is of particular interest to us, however, is that when both brands were consumed in their unidentified state, the region of the brain associated with reward seeking – the ventral putamen – lit up. However, as soon as the cola brands were identified, another part of the brain – the medial prefrontal cortex – lit up in anticipation of respondents drinking their favorite brand.

This is anticipated usefulness— we experience mental and physiological pleasure in the present as we anticipate future consumption.

We speak of course of anticipated excitement and not of anticipated excitement. The first concerns current feelings of pleasure, while the second concerns cognitive expectations of pleasure in the future.

The value of a choice we make as consumers is the sum of the pleasure we derive from it. anticipating consumption, do the experience the consumption, remember consumption, and share our consumption experience.

Most marketers tend to focus on creating value in the consumption and sharing stages of their brands, but what about the massive opportunity to induce and increase anticipated usefulness?

Hollywood, since the release of the first movie trailer in November 1913, has made us all aware of the power of movie trailers to spark interest in upcoming releases – the movie trailer Spider-Man: No Coming Home, for example, reached 355.5 million views within 24 hours of its release. Today we even have teasers for the trailers.

Call on your memory of the last game of the World Cup final or the last Olympic Games. Do you remember the madness that was in the air, the excitement generated by public coverage and private discussion of the impending event? Anticipation is excitement. Anticipation is a value. Anticipation is an opportunity.

One only has to look around to notice how much buzz is created by savvy marketers for their product launches. For example, before this tight-lipped Cupertino-based company unveils its latest line of smartphones, rumors and speculation are rife weeks in advance: will there be a bigger camera bump? to accommodate four objectives? Will there be a larger pill-shaped box to include both the front camera and the microphone? Will there be an increase in cloud storage to partially offset the expected price hike? What are the new colors in the range? Will the battery last longer?

What is the use of public debate on such details? It not only creates dramatic intrigue about salient brand characteristics, but it also creates a currency of social conversation. The product, then, is no longer just a matter of personal consumption – it is now like a celebrity discussed and debated on social and mass media, in private and public settings.

Let’s take the example of a truck sold to middle-income families; how ho-hum could this product launch be?

We are talking here about a cybertruck, announced by a company based in Texas. “For a hundred years, trucks have basically been the same,” said the company’s maverick CEO. “We want to try something different.”

The cyber truck, designed as a large metal trapeze, was inspired by the sci-fi movie blade runner and the James Bond movie, The Spy Who Loved Me. At the product unveiling ceremony in November 2019 in Los Angeles, the truck emerged onto the platform as Beyoncé stepped onto a stage to perform…”a large platform rising from the ground, puffs of smoke artificial and music played by loudspeakers, this large metal trapeze on wheels was presented to the crowd.

After the CEO’s speech, the company’s chief designer took the stage and twice threw a small steel ball at two of the cybertruck’s windows. See? They are bulletproof! In the failed demo? -, the windows cracked but the bullet did not pass through.

Millions people tweeted about this event online, thousands of newspapers covered the demonstration, and dozens video clips were downloaded from the Internet. The company that once claimed “we don’t advertise” got billions of dollars in free coverage from this stunt that went viral.

The result? 149,000 trucks were booked within 36 hours of the launch event. At last count, the order book stood at 1.2 million cybertrucks worth $80 billion. All this for a product whose manufacture has not even started until today.
Do all products lend themselves equally to the anticipated usefulness? No of course not. But it can still be worth letting your imagination run free to take on the challenge: How can I create and intensify the anticipatory value of my brand?

In 1878, Thomas Hardy said in The Return of the Native: “Pleasure not known beforehand is half wasted; to anticipate is to double it. For the consumer, it’s true; for the marketer, it’s a clue: why not double the consumer’s pleasure instead of wasting the opportunity to do so?

Check out previous Strategygrams here.

– Sattar Khan can be contacted at [email protected]

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