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The Neuroscience of Transformation

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While transformation is often associated with external changes, it requires internal changes as well. Read on to learn how the brain changes with transformation, and what brands and businesses can do to support customer transformation. 

It's a new year. Is there a new you in the works?

Neuroscience studies show that a new you is constantly being created. This is the brain's adaptation to new environments. You can call this learning. Neuroscientists call it neuroplasticity. As we go through the process of adopting new habits or transforming our thoughts and behaviors, our brain forms new connections between neurons and strengthens or weakens existing connections. 

This process occurs naturally over time for all creatures. Human beings, with our ability to imagine and execute plans for the future, can direct this process. We can transform ourselves.

Often, this requires help or guidance. Spiritual quests like the 500-mile Camino de Santiago in Spain walked by spiritual pilgrims or hiking the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail are full of people also seeking transformation - and these people can help facilitate change. Indigenous ceremonies that involve psychoactive substances like psilocybin or ayahuasca can also induce transformation and are more powerful when done with an experienced guide.

What about businesses – can they contribute to customers’ transformational journeys? In an influential 2022 Harvard Business Review article, B. Joseph Pine II, James H. Gilmore, and David W. Norton argue that "Transformations ... help customers achieve major change", especially when brands work to guide consumers toward their ultimate goals. Companies do this by creating meaningful experiences over time that are valued by customers because of the end-states they achieve. Think of health clubs, medical care, life insurance, financial planning, and ride share companies. When a brand or business identifies transformation goals, successfully conveys alignment with those, and empowers customers to make progress towards them, it can generate loyalty and consistent long-term revenues. 

Research from Immersion's founder Dr. Paul J. Zak, as recounted in his recent book, shows that extraordinary experiences create a neurologic desire for a long-term relationship with businesses. Think back to the last time you went to your local coffee shop, and they remembered your order. It likely made you feel warm and fuzzy, and reinforced your desire to shop with them. Extraordinary experiences don't always necessitate extravagance - small efforts and initiatives can have huge impact on the business. For an organization to be truly transformative, it must induce neurologic adaptation, creating an improved mode of living. Exceptional experiences create an emotional attachment that enables transformations because consumers stick with the program the company designs.

The team at Immersion Neuroscience developed a measure that captures the transformative value of experiences. It is called Peak Immersion. Peak Immersion experiences have extraordinarily high neurologic value and produce transformation in the brain and in behavior. This is true for both individuals and markets as whole. When brands and businesses initiate moments of Peak Immersion in customers, it's linked to several beneficial outcomes. The experience is more memorable, it generates a positive association, and it translates to deeper consumer connection.

Pine and Gilmour posit that transformative experiences are the experiences most worth paying for. But here's the rub: You will only know if the experiences you design are truly transformative by measuring the Peak Immersion they elicit. The Immersion Neuroscience platform makes this easy, by enabling you to capture neural activity anywhere and at scale - whether customers are watching content on their couch or shopping for joggers in your retail store. By tapping into smartwatches and fitness sensors your customers are already wearing, our algorithms convert simple measures of physiology into meaningful moments of deep connection, and ultimate transformation. Create, measure, refine, and contribute to customer transformation while driving sustainable profits. It's neuroscience at your fingertips. Visit our website to try it for yourself! 

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