If the only thing you know about endorphins is what Elle Woods taught you in Legally Blonde, don't worry, you aren't alone.
While she was correct that endorphins do make you happy, the reality is that they can do a lot more.
Starting with the emotional effects, in addition to making us feel happy, endorphins also make people feel more creative and more relaxed. They also help us pay attention, because when endorphins are released, our brain activity increases.
Endorphins raise the human pain threshold allowing you to experience uncomfortable situations longer. This pain threshold is raised for both physical and mental pain. Meaning that you can deal with being hurt or stressed more effectively when you have high levels of endorphins in your blood stream.
Finally, endorphins also have a positive effect on a person’s overall health. Endorphins lower your blood pressure, the key variable in heart disease. So, they can have a long-term effect on one’s life expectancy.
When you participate in physical activity your body produces endorphins that interact with brain receptors to lower the pain you feel. This allows your body to move faster for longer than if this didn't occur.
Another way they are released is through laughter. When you experience something funny and laugh your body releases endorphins encouraging the euphoric feeling. The science behind laughter has to do with the actual physical action of laughing rather than just finding something amusing.
So, what do endorphins have to do with marketing?
Emotions are housed in the same area of the brain as the decision-making processes. This means that if marketers can trigger endorphins to make people feel happier and less stressed, they would be more likely engage in the decision-making process. They would also feel more positively about that decision.
It’s unlikely that a marketer is going to be able to get potential customers to work out before looking at their products, so that leaves humor as the best stimuli for an endorphin release.
Storytelling and Endorphins:
Storytelling is powerful way to cause endorphins. Characters, settings, and masterplots are all optimal tools to create an emotion-fueled story. Telling a story in a certain way with specific attributes can cause intentional feelings. The science of storytelling lies in the series of chemicals that are released during the storytelling experience. When someone is telling a story, a series of hormones including dopamine, oxytocin, cortisol, and endorphins are released in the brain of the listener. Human beings experience endorphins during the storytelling process when the story is funny and makes them laugh. The same happens when a story makes them sad and they cry. When this story is a connected to a brand, those endorphins and feelings are forever associated with the brand.
The obstacle with social media is that the text limit makes it difficult to write a full narrative. Since a narrative is limited by the amount of text readers engage with on social media, the storytelling process is mostly left to visual storytelling. Funny visuals come in the form of memes, gifs, funny videos, or humorous captions.
Video is a prime medium for humorous storytelling that activates endorphins in an audience. In addition to video social media sites like YouTube, a few weeks back we talked about the art of laughter and the role that gifs can play in making your audience laugh using short video loops.
But a single image can also have a humorous impact, especially if that single image is a meme.
Memes are built for social media because they are entertaining and very easy to share. In addition to their shareable nature, they are also relatable to a specific audience. Their relatability makes them ideal for marketing. Since the whole purpose of memes is for entertainment, they work well if laughter is your end goal.
A branded meme works by making your audience laugh while casually referencing your brand. It is an indirect form of marketing.
A brand can use memes either by capitalizing on a currently trending meme image with reference to their brand, or by creating their own memes. Using well known meme image allows a brand to hop on a viral trend that will immediately make their meme inherently relatable.
The caption that a brand adds should provide situational context that makes sense with the image but also connects back to a brand.
The most important thing to remember is that memes are funny because certain people relate with them, but not everyone will get the joke. In some ways, they are like an inside joke with a target audience. When you make your meme, make sure it is catered to the target audience you have in mind.
Endorphins put your customers in a buying mindset which can drive sales. When it comes to social media the optimal way to interact with your customers in a funny way is through visual storytelling. Utilize video, GIFs and memes to get your customers ready to make decisions.