Loyalty Psychology: Light up your customer’s brain like a Christmas tree
11 September 2016
Philip Shelper


There is plenty of evidence to suggest surprise & delight campaigns as part of a loyalty program help forge a strong emotional connection between brands and consumers. Now we can even understand what is taking place inside the brain.

Scientists at Emory University, Atlanta found evidence that the emotional connection can be forged by the surprise & delight event powerfully stimulating the brain’s ‘pleasure centre’ or ‘reward circuit’ (the nucleus accumbens), which releases dopamine into the blood stream (dopamine = I feel good).

The scientists used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure brain activity in response to pleasurable stimuli, and found the pleasure centre responded much more strongly when the event was unanticipated.

Subjects in the experiment underwent MRI scans while having fruit juice or water squirted into their mouths through a tube either in a predictable or unpredictable pattern. The subjects were then asked which drink they preferred.

The results revealed that the pleasure centre was most strongly activated when the squirts were unpredictable, even with water.

This presents a strong case for including surprise & delight elements in a loyalty program, as an unexpected delight can light-up your customer’s brain like a Christmas tree, helping to forge a strong connection between them and your brand.

Philip Shelper is a specialist loyalty consultant based in Sydney, Australia who obsesses about everything to do with loyalty and rewards. His company Loyalty & Reward Co are a leading loyalty consulting firm.

Let’s connect! https://au.linkedin.com/in/philipshelper 

<a href="https://loyaltyrewardco.com/author/philip/" target="_self">Philip Shelper</a>

Philip Shelper

Phil is the CEO & Founder of Loyalty & Reward Co, the leading loyalty consulting firm. Loyalty & Reward Co design, implement and operate the world’s best loyalty programs for the world’s best brands. Phil had previously worked in loyalty roles at Qantas Frequent Flyer and Vodafone. Phil is a member of several hundred loyalty programs, and a researcher of loyalty psychology and loyalty history, all of which he uses to understand the essential dynamics of what makes a successful loyalty program. Phil is the author of ‘Loyalty Programs: The Complete Guide’, the most comprehensive book on loyalty programs on the planet.

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