How to Measure the Extraordinary in an Experience-driven Economy

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with neuroscientist, professor, speaker, author, and cofounder of Immersion Neuroscience, Dr. Paul Zak. Paul’s newest book, Immersion: The Science of the Extraordinary and the Source of Happiness, dropped late last year, so I had to catch up with him to get some first-hand info on what this book is really about.

So, what exactly IS immersion? Paul says:

“Immersion is a neurologic state which is associated with attention to the experience you’re having.” He emphasizes the emotional resonance of our experiences, i.e., how much something speaks to us emotionally, how valuable it is to our brain. “Immersion is a valuation mechanism for experiences with social content.”

Paul self-describes as someone who’s been “obsessed with extraordinary experiences and happiness for 20 years,” which has led to his exploration of the underlying brain basis for these above-and-beyond feelings and experiences. But why does any of this matter?

The World Is Rapidly Transforming into an Experience-driven Economy

“As we move into the experience economy, we all want extraordinary experiences, right? I don’t want to see a bad movie. I don’t want to have someone treat me poorly at a store. We really want to have extraordinary at every stage, […] and we don’t get them that often. And I think the reason for that is that we don’t have the right measurement tools and understanding of where extraordinary happens in the brain. So the book is about the discovery of this neurologic state I’m calling immersion, which is like the wow factor, like, “Holy crap, this is great!”

“How do we create extraordinary experiences? And importantly, how do those experiences influence action?” –Dr. Paul Zak, #ImmersionNeuroscience #CX #Neuroscience #Neuroeconomics #Neuromarketing Click To Tweet

I strongly urge you to go back and listen to this fascinating podcast episode, in which Paul and I discuss everything from honing in on your company or product’s “superfans” to applying Paul’s immersion formula, SIRTA, to your work (Staging, Immersion, Relevance, Targeting, Action). Give this episode a listen for invaluable wisdom on deepening your customer connections, generating long-term customer value, optimizing employee performance through immersive training, and much, much more.

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?

Paul says:

“What I know now is that people are weird. In the most wonderful, neurologic sense. Our brain lives in a soup of about 200 neurochemicals. And we sort of think of people around us—whether our family members, friends, customers—as being consistent. But in fact, our brain is adapting in millisecond frequency to our external and internal environments. So the rule for human behavior is inconsistency. And that’s okay. It means we as interactors of those other humans, we need to be tolerant, need to be accepting.”

The rule for human behavior is inconsistency. And that's okay. It means we as interactors of those other humans, we need to be tolerant, need to be accepting.”–Dr. Paul Zak, #ImmersionNeuroscience #CustomerExperience #Neuroscience… Click To Tweet

About Paul Zak

Matt Baer Paul’s two decades of research have taken him from the Pentagon to Fortune 50boardrooms to the rainforest of Papua New Guinea. He is a four-time tech entrepreneur and cofounder ofImmersion Neuroscience. His lifelong interest in understanding human connection led to his groundbreaking research on oxytocin, a neuropeptide that affects our everyday social interactions and our ability to behave altruistically and cooperatively.

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