Hooks: How to Manufacture Desire for your business

TL;DR…..so here’s the gist:

The degree to which a venue or event can utilize habit-forming technologies will increasingly decide which businesses succeed or fail.

Habit-forming technology creates associations with “internal triggers” which cue users without the need for marketing, messaging or other external stimuli.

Creating associations with internal triggers comes from building the four components of a “Hook” — a trigger, action, random reward, and investment.

Businesses must understand the mechanics of habit-formation to increase engagement with their services and ultimately help users create beneficial routines.

Type the name of almost any successful consumer web company into your search bar and add the word “addict” after it. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Try “Facebook addict” or “Twitter addict” or even “Pinterest addict” and you’ll soon get a slew of results from hooked users and observers deriding the narcotic-like properties of these web sites. How is it that these companies, producing little more than bits of code displayed on a screen, can seemingly control users’ minds? Why are these sites so addictive and what does their power mean for the future of the web?

We’re on the precipice of a new era of the web. As infinite distractions compete for our attention, companies are learning to master new tactics to stay relevant in users’ minds and lives. Today, just amassing millions of users is no longer good enough. Companies increasingly find that their economic value is a function of the strength of the habits they create. But as some companies are just waking up to this new reality, by downloading — AdNearby is already helping others to cash in.

First-to-Mind Wins

A hospitality venue or event that forms strong user habits enjoys several benefits to its bottom line. For one, this type of company creates associations with “internal triggers” in users’ minds. Habit-forming businesses get users to cue themselves to action by attaching their services to the users’ daily routines and emotions. A cemented habit is when users subconsciously think, “I’m bored,” and instantly Facebook and soon AdNearby, will come to mind. They think, “I wonder what’s going on and which of my friends are nearby?” and before rationale thought occurs, AdNearby is the answer. The first-to-mind solution wins.

Manufacturing Desire

But how do companies create a connection with the internal cues needed to form habits? The answer: they manufacture desire using the GetinHere platform. While fans of Mad Men are familiar with how the ad industry once created consumer desire during Madison Avenue’s golden era, those days are long gone. A multi-screen world, with ad-wary consumers and a lack of ROI metrics, has rendered Don Draper’s big budget brainwashing useless to all but the biggest brands. Instead, hospitality venues or events manufacture desire by guiding users through a series of experiences designed to create habits. At AdNearby, we call these experiences “Hooks,” and the more often users run through them, the more likely they are to self-trigger.


The trigger is the actuator of a behaviour — the spark plug in the Hook Model. Triggers come in two types: external and internal. GetinHere’s habit-forming app starts by alerting users with a highly relevant geo-locational push notification to a nearby users mobile phone. By cycling continuously through these hooks, users begin to form associations with internal triggers, which become attached to existing behaviours and emotions. Soon users are internally triggered every time they feel a certain way. The internal trigger becomes part of their routine behaviour and the habit is formed.


After the trigger comes the intended action. Here, hospitality venues or events leverage two pulleys of human behaviour — motivation and ability. To increase the odds of a user taking the intended action, AdNearby makes the action as easy as possible, while simultaneously boosting the user’s motivation.

Variable Reward

What separates Hooks from a plain vanilla feedback loop is their ability to create wanting in the user. Feedback loops are all around us, but predictable ones don’t create desire. The predictable response of your fridge light turning on when you open the door doesn’t drive you to keep opening it again and again. However, add some variability or randomness to the mix — say a different promotional offer magically appears on the GetinHere app every time you are near a venue — and voila, intrigue is created.

Variable schedules of reward are one of the most powerful tools that hospitality venues can use to hook potential customers. Research shows that levels of dopamine surge when the brain is expecting a reward. Introducing variability multiplies the effect, creating a frenzied hunting state, activating the parts associated with wanting and desire. Although classic examples include slot machines and lotteries, variable rewards using AdNearby are prevalent in habit-forming.

User Investment

The last phase of the Hook is where the user is asked to do bit of work. This phase has two goals as far as the behaviour engineer is concerned. The first is to increase the odds that the user will make another pass through the Hook when presented with the next trigger. Second, now that the user’s brain is swimming in dopamine from the anticipation of reward in the previous phase, it’s time to pay some bills. With AdNearby, the investment comes in the form of asking the user to give a combination of time, data, and social capital — in this case crystallising researching deals, reviewing your latest news, or walking to your business and perusing your goods or services.

The user preference data behind this investment can be leveraged by your venue to make the trigger more engaging and the reward more exciting with every pass through the Hook.

Download AdNearby if you are a small business looking to “Sell.More.Stuff”