Our own behavior is definitely lead by our society, our environment and other stimuli that can interfere and leverage our existence, therefore our decisions and wishes. But we have to understand that behaving as human beings is about existing as individuals but also as members of groups at all times. When decisions are made, they must be for your own benefit but also weighed to the benefits of a tribe, a group or a family. And even in our biology, there exists this paradigm when it comes to make decisions. From the four primary chemical incentives, two evolved to help us find food and get things done while the two others are helping to socialize and cooperate. The first two are endorphins and dopamine (they help to persevere, build shelters or invent tools…) and the two others are serotonin and oxytocin (incentives to work together, strengthen our social bond, mostly it’s about working together to finally survive).
We need to review the four of them and see how some brands are capturing the power they may create.
They serve one purpose: to mask physical pain. They’re often released in response to stress or fear; they mask physical pain with pleasure. This is related to athlete’s euphoria, before or after the workout, this feeling of chemical surging. And it all has to do with survival.
Dopamine is the reason for good feeling when getting something we’re looking for or do something we’re looking for. We can talk about the feeling of satisfaction after finishing an important task. We have this satisfaction of progress and accomplishment. That’s why it’s important to set some tangible and visible goals to us. And, yet comes our biological reward for all the hard work.
We can call it the leadership chemical. This is the feeling of pride, the feeling we have we get when we perceive that others like or respect us. It makes us feel strong and confident, we can take on anything. And more than only confidence, it raises our status. Social media is a great reveal of this need with the likes on FB, the followers on Twitter or the views on Youtube that everybody is seeking out to multiply.
The feeling of friendship, love or deep trust. The feeling we get in the presence of our closest friends, our beloved family members or our trusted colleagues. It is the feeling we get when we do something nice for someone or someone does something nice for us. Without oxytocin, we would not want to perform acts of generosity; there would be no empathy.
We can all understand that all these campaigns created something special in us. And we can understand that this is related to chemistry operating in the storytelling. But it also results harsh to match exactly marketing and those four basic chemical behavioral elements. We can understand that each campaign or marketing decisions might be the sum of them or focusing on one of them, or even getting away from them, building a totally rational message. Things are getting complex when it comes to human physical reactions to a message. Because we’re not living anymore in caves, we cannot rely fully on physical chemistry to predict a certain behavior but it’s interesting to understand that we definitely kept our animal instincts. Wrangler was saying ‘We are animals’. Right on.