Debra Swersky
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Journal

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Addiction

In the back of my mind I’ve had this thought: Yes, you can have too much of a good thing. We’ve all heard the phrase, “There is never too much of a good thing.” But, have you ever really thought about what the “good thing” is? And what would actually happen if you had too much of it? Noodle on that for a second. I’m sure you can come up with at least one example of a “good thing” and what would happen if you had “too much” of it. In thinking about it, there are things that you have too much of, but that (to an extent) are actually good things… when you don’t have too much of them. Yeah, moderation. Something like that.

Last week I read a blog post on the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) where lots of stats were thrown around about social media. None of this was new information to me: People check social media way too often. (That was the gist of the article.) What struck me was the line: Um, sounds uncomfortably like addiction to me… 

For a long time I’ve been thinking about addiction and how people get addicted to things. As someone who focuses my time on marketing and branding and the operational side of business, I’ve been thinking for a long time about addiction as it relates to brands or activities or experiences. The blog post catapulted me into some light research on the subject at the American Society of Addictive Medicine. In reading through the “long” definition, much of the answer refers to alcohol and drugs and the type of addiction that we understand. But, it was the behavioral changes, the cognitive changes, and the emotional changes that disturbed me most. 

I immediately thought of a brand or two that I was (am?) potentially addicted to and struggled to come to terms with what that meant for my behavior, my thought patterns, and my emotions. You should know, if you don’t know me by now, that I’m not much for alcohol nor drugs, so Budweiser and [insert name brand drug here] aren’t really my brands of choice. Pass the Flintstone’s chewables, please! In short, I’ll be fine. But, that did get me thinking: Is it possible that I could be addicted? Just by the mere fact that I asked myself that question, am I speaking directly to the denial that an addict typically faces when dealing with addiction? Me? Addicted? No. Of course not. 

Looking at this from the brand’s perspective, and as I continue my reading on finding, creating, and capitalizing on your best customers, I’ve become very curious on the topic of addiction. There are elements of addiction that brands want to inspire in their products or service to create those uber-loyal customers… but does that have to happen at the behavioral, cognitive, and emotional expense of the customer?

Food for further thought. 

Debra Swersky