Dissatisfied Yet Happy: The Weird Brain Science of Customer Loyalty

Dissatisfied Yet Happy: The Weird Brain Science of Customer Loyalty

The happiest people are the least satisfied • The most satisfied are not happy.

That makes no sense, does it? Yet brain science tells us that being dissatisfied is not the same as being unhappy. People who are dissatisfied yet also see themselves making progress towards a goal are more happy than merely satisfied people. Smart marketers make use of dissatisfaction to create powerful emotional connections with their customers.

Negative Emotion Drives Desire

It’s good for your business when you allow your customers suffer. Why? I’ll explain in just a moment. First, let’s set the stage.

We all know that emotion drives buying decisions. And we know that facts kill emotion. Savvy marketers have known that’s true for a long time.

Now, thanks to neuroscience, we better understand why people are like that.

For decades, the gurus of marketing have told us to avoid negative emotions. Turns out, they’re wrong.

Negative emotion is not just the absence of positive emotion. It is its own separate thing. Positive emotion and negative emotion use two entirely different circuits in our brains.

That means it’s possible for humans to experience both positive and negative emotions at the same time.

In fact, if your target audience is experiencing negative emotion, you have a great opportunity to leverage that emotion for your own good. Push the right buttons, slide the right levers and you can increase desire.

And then – when you offer a solution to those negative emotions, you’ll create powerful positive emotions. And – if you do it right – you can turn those positive emotions into powerful, long-lasting emotional connections.

However, you gotta know how to leverage that negative emotion.

“Neurophysiologically we are constructed in such a way that we do not experience positive emotion unless we have an aim and we perceive ourselves progressing towards that aim and attaining that aim.” – Dr. Jordan B. Peterson

Negative Emotions Are Almost Always At Work

As I argue elsewhere, we 21st century people walk around with a gaping hole in our psyches. It’s there because our culture has fractured.

Strong cultures keep our deep existential questions at bay. But when culture fractures – as ours has – it no longer gives us answers to our deep questions. And that’s precisely where we find ourselves.

Almost all of us suffer from existential discontent. That’s an emotion that maps onto the negative emotional system. Unless those deep existential questions are answered, that negative emotional system is always going to be working.

The Brain Chemistry of Positive Emotion

We have two different “systems” of brain chemicals that make us feel positive emotions.

One is  dopamine. The other is serotonin.

When we perceive ourselves as making progress towards a goal, then our brains squirt dopamine. That’s a really awesome feeling. When you offer your prospect the chance to solve a nasty problem, it’s dopamine that makes them feel excited about it.

When we actually reach our goal, the dopamine turns off and our brain squirts serotonin instead. Serotonin is a nice feeling, but it’t not as intense as dopamine and it doesn’t last as long.

Dopamine makes us feel good about heading in the right direction to reach our goal. Serotonin makes us feel good about having reached our goal.

So your prospects can feel negative feelings and positive feelings at the same time. You want them to feel dopamine-feelings though. Don’t give them serotonin feelings too soon.

Amplify the Suffering First, THEN Offer the Solution

The old marketing acronym PAS is built on this reality: Pain-Amplification-Solution.

Isn’t it interesting that the old guys knew what worked, even if they didn’t know why it worked? Now we know.

Tell me what you think. Can you see how to amplify customer dissatisfaction in a way that makes them feel more love and loyalty to you? This is where Loyalty Triggers can help. I recommend you get the guide if you don’t already have it.

Learn to Use the Loyalty Triggers

Free Quick Reference Guide eBook

Get Laid • Get Paid • Save Western Civilization

Get Laid • Get Paid • Save Western Civilization

Thanks to Sean at Western Mastery for inspiring this article. 

If you think the world is going to hell and Someone Should Do Something, then this message is for you.

How to Save Western Civilization

A Recipe for Recovery in 4 Words

I’m not kidding.

You can save society by learning to Get Laid and learning to Get Paid.

Let me explain.

We’ll start with Sex and then go to Money.


Why does a man get laid?

Because a woman agrees to mate with him.

And what is it that makes you an attractive potential mate to a woman?

She perceives you as confident, competent and dominant.

What happens when you mate with a woman? She gets pregnant. You become a father.

Defy the Decline

A truly confident, competent and dominant man who wants to save Western Civilization will then make sure that those babies grow up to become confident, competent, dominant men. Or grow up to be capable, creative, supportive women.

By helping to populate the world with those kind of men and women, you become a bulwark against the decline.

So how do you become that kind of man?

Step 1: Fix Yourself

This is where it all begins.

Sure, you might know exactly what needs to be done to fix the economy, the political system, healthcare, fitness, food and education.

But you have zero control over any of those systems and institutions, do you?

What DO you have control over? YOU.

You and you alone have the power to fix you.

(And frankly, if you can’t be bothered to fix yourself, why should anyone listen to you about anything else?)

  • You know you have bad habits. Fix them.
  • You know you don’t take care of your body. Fix that.
  • You know you waste time. Fix that.
  • You know you fill your mind with useless shit. Fix that.
  • You know you don’t live up to your own financial potential. Fix that.

That leads us to:


Step 2: Fix Your Wallet

Money is a proxy for time. The less money you have, the more time you must devote to basic subsistence.

If you have more money, you can buy the time of other people. Pay someone to take care of the low-value things: lawn service, pool service, house-cleaning, oil changes.

You get the idea.

Things you can’t pay someone else to do for you:

  • Exercise
  • Learn
  • Parent
  • Love
  • Feel

Free your wife from the need to depend on an outside income instead of caring for home and children.

Free your parents from the need to depend on government handouts for mere survival.

Free your children from the need to depend on government schooling for an education.

Free your friends from short-term needs that can be fixed with a quick infusion of cash.

In other words, when you are making more than enough money, you can multiply your influence – with both money AND time.

Get Started

So, do you really want to help save Western Civilization?

Then start learning to Get Laid & Get Paid.

There are plenty of men on Twitter who can help you with the specifics.

Here’s the ones I suggest you start following.

Haters: Your Best Form of Free Advertising

Haters: Your Best Form of Free Advertising

Why did the media gave Donald Trump $2.6 billion dollars of free advertising during his presidential campaign. Because they wanted to promote him? Of course not.

Because he’s mastered an unusual skill: creating haters.

Trump got free publicity from the people who hated him most. And it wasn’t luck, it was intentional. Donald Trump knows how to stand out, how attract attention and leverage it.

He’s been using this technique for decades, long before he ran for president. And you can use the exact same technique to create 100% free advertising as well.

Let’s dig a little deeper.

The Donald’s Been Doing It Forever

In 1986, Trump’s company won a contract from the city of New York to repair and refurbish the Wollman Skating Rink. The city of New York had been trying – and failing – to repair the rink for years. Trump decided he wanted the contract. So he started talking.

No, actually – he started mocking.

He didn’t mock people though; he mocked the system that allowed all previous rebuilding projects to be massive failures.

He intentionally inflamed the passions of both supporters and detractors.

These tactics generated tons of free publicity. Pressure mounted on the city. He won the contract.

And once the project was done, (he completed the project 30% early and 25% under budget), he credited his success to “good management.”

Free publicity combined with a quality product is an unbeatable combination.

You Can Fight Human Nature, (But You Won’t Win)

Trump never paid for advertising. He just created some haters and let them talk about him as much as they wished. In fact, he fed them new subjects just to keep them talking.

If Trump didn’t upset people, then they wouldn’t have been so eager to discredit him. In their eagerness to debunk him, they had to talk about him.

This strategy worked in the city of New York in the 80s. Ot worked in the campaign of 2016. And it still works today.

His haters really believe their words discredit him. They are wrong.

He knows his target audience. Haters are a central part of his marketing and advertising strategy.

Like some weird outer space creature from a bad Star Trek episode, Trump swallows energy from his adversaries and grows stronger. And even though their efforts keep failing, his haters won’t stop giving him free advertising.

In fact, they can’t stop themselves from talking about him.

It isn’t very smart of them to keep giving him so much free air time. Why won’t they just stop?

Method in the Madness

If you’ve been one of my followers for any time at all, you know why: human beings are not rational.

The reason people can’t stop talking about The Donald is because they can’t stand him.

It’s almost as if he makes outlandish statements on purpose…

We’re taught from an early age to play nice and not make waves. We’re taught to not make people dislike us. It sounds smart, and…

It’s wrong.

To create free advertising, you need to make some people dislike you. You need some people to dislike you so much that they can’t help telling the world how awful you are.

I call this special class of people anti-customers.

One anti-customer is worth a hundred loyal-but-silent customers. Why?

Because anti-customers care.

They feel compelled to talk about you. Their passion drives them to speak out against you. And when anti-customers speak out against you? Ah, that’s the moment you seize to make the magic happen.

Here’s how.

How to Leverage the Passion of Your Haters

Isaac Newton explained it: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction The intensity of passion from an anti-customer will provoke an equally intense reaction from your existing customers. Anti-customers increase the passion of customers. The more some people talk smack about you, the more your loyalists will speak out to protect you and try to drown out the negative voices. It’s just human nature. Your “average” customers will get irritated with the antics of the anti-customer. They will feel compelled to speak out on your behalf. And your truly loyal customers will charge to your defense like Mel Gibson in Braveheart. You’ll reap the benefits. Customers are talking about you. Anti-customers are talking about you. Prospects are hearing about you. Interest in you is building. At that point, all you gotta do is keep delivering a decent product or service at a fair price. Oh, and one other thing: keep inflaming the anti-customers.

The Care and Feeding of Anti-Customers

You might be saying to yourself, “ok, how do I create the right kind of anti-customers?”

There’s a right way and a wrong way to create and provoke your anti-customers. This is where business diverges a little from politics.

In politics, you can successfully create anti-customers by attacking people as well as ideas. That’s not true in business. Only attack ideas, systems, programs and products. Never attack people.

How? Your attack begins with your manifesto. (You do have a manifesto, don’t you?)

What exactly is a manifesto? According to Wikipedia:

“A manifesto is a published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government.”

This is no passionless corporate Vision Statement. This is your line in the sand. It is an intentional provocation. In fact, the word “manifesto” is from the latin phrase manu festus which means “struck by hand.” It implies action, passion, and impatience.

Your manifesto should be hot-blooded, full of fire and fury. You don’t have time to lay out a reasonable argument. You’re in a hurry to change the world, and you won’t concern yourself with insignificant details.

In your urgency, you “strike by hand” your thoughts, beliefs, hopes and dreams for the future.

Your manifesto is the verbal equivalent of a molotov cocktail tossed through the open window of the status quo. It is intended to explode, burn and leave a mark. It is not intended to be nuanced, reasonable or even possible.

In fact, any manifesto worth reading will be entirely unreasonable.

Build Your Manifesto and Buckle Up

A good manifesto has three parts:

  1. Denounce the Problem(s) with the Status Quo
  2. Pronounce the Glorious Future, (once the problems of the status quo are fixed)
  3. Announce the Actions you are taking to make that future vision a reality.

You must demonize the enemy, (whatever that may be). You must turn molehills into mountains. You must not worry about the details of execution. What matters is the passion and urgency of your mission. You must issue a call to all right-minded folk to join you in your glorious mission.

Do that with your manifesto. Publish it far and wide, and you will create loyal fans. Even better, you will create loyal anti-customers.


One final word: make sure you publicize all the nasty things anti-customers say about you. Send an email to your fans saying “look what they said about me”, and then copy and paste their mean words. This will galvanize your supporters to ride to your defense.

Remember to thank them – publicly and humbly – for their support. And when you are counting the additional profits, remember to credit it all to “good management.” Just like The Donald.

(Podcast) Roseann Higgins, the Millionaire Matchmaker

(Podcast) Roseann Higgins, the Millionaire Matchmaker

Roseann Higgins is CEO of Especially Selective, the only “romance headhunters™” in the country.

Roseann describes her business this way:

“We search for your dream girl at hundreds of the right events and get to know her for you. So you go on the best dates of your life!”

What does Roseann know about devotion? Well, the divorce rate in the U.S. exceeds 50%. Contrast that with Roseann’s matches: they have a divorce rate below 4%.

I think those numbers speak for themselves.

What’s the Best Way to Forge Emotional Bonds with Your Audience?

What’s the Best Way to Forge Emotional Bonds with Your Audience?

“I need your expertise. I’m building my personal brand and need better positioning on social media. I can’t spend 10 years touring trying build an emotional bond with my audience. Do you think you can help?”

Matthew fronts a rock band, Vinyl Station, and he thinks like a business owner. He wants to take control of his reputation. He needs strategies that leverage his strengths. Strategies that don’t demand a giant budget to execute.

I said yes. We agreed to meet the next day at Peixoto Coffee.

Peixoto is a pretty typical coffee bar in many respects. Old downtown building. Exposed brick walls. Thrift-store furniture. Pierced & tattooed baristas. Metal chairs and tables on the sidewalk out front.

Like I said, typical. As we sat down, I told him, “I don’t really like their coffee, but I keep coming back.”

Does that make any sense?

I’m a coffee lover that didn’t like their coffee. So why do I keep coming back? I’ll give you a hint:

  • It’s not the atmosphere. Plenty of coffee shops around here have the same atmosphere.
  • It’s not the people. They’re no better or worse than any other shop around.
  • It’s not the location. I actually pass a dozen coffee shops on my way to Peixoto.

So what is it?

It’s the emotion I feel.

Feelings are Stronger than Thoughts

Why do I go back to Peixoto over and over again? Because I have an emotional bond with their story. I don’t think about them as a business. In fact, I don’t think about them at all. Rather, I have feelings for them.

There’s the difference:thinking versus feeling.

Do people think about you? Or do they have feelings for you?

The smart folks at Peixoto hooked my emotions. They made it almost impossible for me to imagine going anywhere else for coffee meetings.

Now that’s some powerful brand building there.

If you’re an entrepreneur, a business owner or a personality, differentiation is the name of the game. That’s why What You Do matters far less than Who You Are.

Good Feelings Beat Rational Thinking Every Time

I didn’t like Peixoto coffee. Yet I kept going back. That is not a rational thinking.

Imagine this scenario is true for your business:

Even though some people aren’t crazy about your products or services, they keep coming back for more. They keep buying from you. And they are so happy about buying from you that they recommend you to their friends.

That’s exactly how Peixoto affects me.

You wanna talk about Branding Power? Now that’s branding power. Do you want people to connect like that with you? Of course you do.

So what is it that Peixoto did to hook me? How did they grab my emotions so strongly that I hate to go anywhere else for coffee?

The answer is stunningly simple:

They told me an amazing Origin Story – a love story. Their Origin Story made me fall in love with their little company.

Strategies that Turn Business into Pleasure

See, Peixoto is the only coffee shop for hundreds of miles in every direction that grows and harvests their own coffee beans.

The same family that grows the coffee beans in Brazil also sells me the coffee in Arizona. They plant it, grow it, harvest it, ship it, roast it, brew it and finally sell it to me.

The coffee doesn’t change owners from the time it’s planted in the ground until they pass that beautiful white porcelain mug across the stainless steel counter into my eager hands.

I love that story. It makes Peixoto completely unique. And it makes me feel like I am a small part of something amazing and cool.

And so – because I feel that way – I keep on giving Peixoto my business. And I keep on encouraging other people to give them business as well.

(In fact, I had yet another meeting there yesterday. Peixoto is also my favorite “office-away-from-the-office.”)

Brand Yourself with Your Origin Story

Every great Origin Story has three key elements:

  1. A Hero – Your brand’s story should have a hero who resembles your ideal customer.
  2. A Struggle -Your hero should find himself in a predicament that your ideal customer can relate to.
  3. A Solution – Your hero should find a solution that not only resolves his predicament, but is available to your customer today.

The heroes of the Peixoto story are the owners, Jeff Peters and Julia Peixoto Peters. They are just like me: they love a good cup of coffee. And just like me, they don’t like mass-market coffee.

They struggled to find coffee as delicious as the coffee they drank in Brazil. But not just anywhere in Brazil. See, Julia’s father in Brazil actually owns a coffee farm. They couldn’t find coffee that tasty anywhere else.

Their solution? They decided to open their own coffee shop and sell coffee from Julia’s family coffee farm.

They roast the coffee in their own shop. They grind, brew and sell it right there on the corner of Arizona Avenue and Boston Street in Chandler, Arizona.

How to Create, Attract and Keep Customer Emotion

What Peixoto has done with their Origin Story is something you can do as well. Your Origin Story will communicate your emotion to your audience. And your audience will give your their emotion in return.

Every Origin Story is a love story. Find the love in your story, highlight the Hero, the Struggle and the Solution. Then share it with the world.

A compelling Origin Story is your first best way to make yourself irresistible. It lets you brand yourself and define your identity in a way that makes you stand out from the crowd.

Whether business branding or personal branding doesn’t matter: an emotional connection beats a rational decision every time.

Love: It’s the best customer loyalty program in existence.

A related note: Peixoto’s Origin Story kept me coming back until I learned to love their product as much as I love their story. Now I buy their coffee by the bag to brew at home!

Logos vs. Faces • Science Tells Us Which is Best

So you want to create an identity for your business? Science tells us which type of images work best.

HINT: It’s not the ones most people use.


Let’s talk about how we – how our brains perceive images, words, messages.

And how that affects us when it’s time to set up our marketing, our advertising and our branding.

Neuro-scientists have established pretty conclusively – beyond any doubt – that the human brain / mind / psychology reacts to faces much more positively than to things.

Babies as early as two-weeks old show a marked preferences for faces over things.

Now, before you guys jump in and say, “awww, that’s only true for females rather than males…” No, that’s true for all – both genders – from the beginning.

It is true that males prefer “Things Over People” more than females do.

But across the board, the human brain reacts – even if it’s at a subconscious level – to images of faces much more positively, much more strongly, and much more predictably than the human brain responds to abstract ideas.

So how does that affect us?

I was looking at a potential client today that needs to update their branding. (Now I’m not going to go into what branding is and is not.) Let’s just talk about the kind of thing that they currently have.

Currently, their brand is this very abstract, geometrical, obviously very-high-tech – I don’t know – series of embedded letter “L’s”, it looks like.

Nice colors. I mean, the colors are not terribly interesting. But that’s kinda of tertiary significance.

The primary significant that you want with your imaging is something that is arresting to the eye and utterly unforgettable and completely identifiable and unique.

And they’re nowhere close to that.

Secondarily is what the image actually contains. And tertiary is the colors itself.

These folks have an extremely abstract logo. And what their brand is – is anybody’s guess. So they clearly do need help.

Were I advising them – if they hired me – I was gonna say, “Look, the first thing you’ve gotta do is, you want your image to be something that people instantly relate to. And the human brain instantly relates to faces.”

And in addition to faces – layered on top of the face itself – is a personality.

What we’ve gotta do primarily – number 1 thing – is we’ve got to connect the idea of a personality with a face and character – connect it in the minds of your target audience – with you.

So when they think about YOU – Mr. Company – what they think about is – they think about a person.

And it doesn’t have to be You the CEO or You the Founder, or You even The Spokesperson.

But they’ve got to have an image – a facial image – and a personality that they feel good about, that they can connect with your offering. Whether it’s a service or a product or a company or a club.

People will remember a person with a personality – with a distinctive look and distinctive, relatable personality – long after they’ll remember some sort of abstract image with – you know – well-designed fonts and colors and geometric logo. Those things just don’t have the same kind of cognitive power that faces and personalities have.

When it’s time to create that image for your offering – whether it’s a company, a product a service, whatever it is – rather than going first to the people who design abstract images and they worry about color, think about giving a face and a personality to your offering.

That can be someone who stands for the offering like Colonel Sanders stands for KFC. Like Jack the Clown stands for Jack-in-the-Box restaurants. Like the Geico Gecko stands for Geico Insurance.

But it’s got to be something with a recognizable face. (There’s sound neurological reasons for that.) And a personality that we both relate to and admire.

Remember, if your audience doesn’t feel it, they aren’t gonna love it.

See you tomorrow.