It is no longer a secret: Reward systems that trigger chemicals in our brains and drive user engagement are built into many modern technologies. But The New York Times is not alone in its concern about how ethical this type of for-profit brain hacking is.

Technology leaders — including some who pioneered these very techniques — have spoken out about the danger posed by technology addiction and how it affects our personal lives. Using brain hacking for morally unambiguous CRM work hinges on an even value exchange and transparency.

If you focus on offering content that serves users instead of using the technology to push sales, these engagement techniques can actually reduce buyer anxiety. Additionally, the more transparent your offers while you provide user-friendly preference controls, the less likely you are to risk traveling into the ethical grey zone.

Brands aren’t wrong to want their content and matching CRM strategies to be as compelling as possible. It’s similar to how early playwrights discovered that certain tropes and plotlines consistently maintain audience attention.

The trick, in this case, is to recognize the difference between effective, compelling content creation and a darker manipulative angle. Beyond creating services that are transparent and easily used, brands that venture into dopamine-reward territory must also be forthright about their tactics. Read more from…

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