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Luxury Has Gone To Your Head

Loyalty marketers speak regularly about “surprise and delight” when engaging with best customers–that little extra that makes them feel special, and strengthens their bond with your brand. According to one neuromarketing firm, surprise and delight appears to an integral part of the consumer brain.

About two years ago, COLLOQUY interviewed Dr. A.K. Pradeep, President and CEO of neuromarketing company NeuroFocus for our cover story “The Neuromancers.” Pradeep’s company applies EEG brain monitoring, eye-tracking and skin conductance measurements to track the effectiveness of advertising, branding, packaging, pricing and product design. Diane Sawyer of ABC World News recently caught up with the good doctor (<> podcast on iTunes, with a little searching) and talked about studies revealing the power of “little moments of luxury.” Says Dr. Pradeep as noted in a press release:

“The brain values and therefore seeks out even small amounts of pleasure and satisfaction in daily life. In times of economic strife, that subconscious pursuit of luxury becomes harder to satisfy, so our implicit luxury pursuit strategies change. We adjust to and attach more value to ‘little moments of luxury’ that enable us to feel as though we’ve experienced something rewarding amidst our stressful daily lives.”

According to NeuroFocus, these “little moments” reinforce “precognitive” connection with the brands and products that trigger them. And from the COLLOQUY point of view, who better to design and deliver relevant “little moments of luxury” than loyalty marketers?

NeuroFocus identifies 8 dimensions of what they call a “Luxury Perceptual Framework,” and most of them are right in the loyalty marketing wheelhouse when engaging with and satisfying best customers in ways in addition to promised moments of value exchange–redemptions, for instance. These dimensions go above and beyond, into soft benefits, and into, yes, surprise and delight. For example:

Dimension 4: Rare and Unique – The luxury of possessing the “one and only,” or qualifying as one of a select few to own or experience something–from collectible toys to antique cameras, one-of-a-kind automobiles, the Hope Diamond, or limited edition premiums from fast food restaurants—causes the subconscious to respond in similar fashion. The brain aspires to possess what is perceived as the unique, rare, unavailable–brought to the forefront in “Avatar”, when the pursuit was for ‘Unobtainium’.

Well, you’re probably not going to reward the Hope Diamond to anyone in your program, but what gems can you deliver–what rare and, I’ll add relevant exclusive gems can you use to trigger brain-flashes of luxury, pampering and recognition? Among other dimensions of the Neurofocus Framework, by the way, are More (translated to hotel loyalty terms, as an example, more might be a bigger suite than the one redeemed for, or an extra glass of wine at the hotel restaurant), and Me (personalization–translated to general loyalty terms, using data to establish relevance.

Loyalty marketers talk often of recognition benefits. Looks like it goes deeper than that–into precognition benefits.

Bill Brohaugh

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