Where does your brand sit?
Just recently, Wooster Collective introduced us to Scott Wayne: Indiana’s Memory Lane In Central Park. Scott decided to pull off a simple experiment when he was at Central Park, New York.
What he did was simple…
I decided to draw (with masking tape) a floorplan to scale of my childhood home to see what memories would reveal themselves to me. I chose a location in Central Park alongside ballfields where I’d feel comfortable spending time in my space.
Personally, his experience turned out to be more about the sensory memory that consumed him in the various spaces of his Indiana home and less about interesting details.
That brings us to an important aspect about brand building. For any brand to be strongly embedded into one’s life, it is vital that it commits itself to being a part of the long term memory of the user.
Mike Moser of United We Brand puts it well:
Long-term memory is where brands live, and short term memory is where brands visit.
It is imperative to ensure that your brand becomes lodged in people’s long-term memory.
But in today’s world, with fragmentation and clutter becoming the order of the day, marketers are only clamouring for more attention. Promotions, contests and sales will get you immediate results and save the Managers for another quarter by meeting their sales target, but it’s not information that customers will hang on to.
So while sales come and go, it escapes the long-term memory of the shoppers, because they know that information will be obsolete in a few days from now. This explicity memory system is notoriously forgetful. There is no residual effect, and most marketing falls into this category.
Long term memory, on the other hand is information that’s meant to be stored. According to Joseph Ledoux in The Emotional Brain, this memory captures the emotional part of the relationship. This is where emotions are created and established, long after the experience. What a good brand does is that it leverages these long term memory implications, and does it in such a way that the emotions increase in their potency as time wears on.
Sadly, there are only a handful of brands out there that pay credence to this thinking…
Take for example, the New York Times. The flag or the nameplate still looks very similar to what it did in 1860. Even though it has been simplified over the years, the core brand values have been retained, and as a result the newspaper evokes a cohesive emotional memory among its readers.
Or for that matter, take Coca Cola. The brand has become iconic, not entirely through its marketing other tactics, but also because Coke has established so many rituals that are centered around the product and the situation it is consumed in.
For Coke, these things include the temperature, the bottle shape, and all that imagery you see in their ads – fishing around in a red cooler for a cold Coke, smiles, and the “aaaahhh” after the first sip.
What strong brands do well is understand these implications of long term memory, and constantly keep reinforcing it. Because while short-term explicit memory is easily discardable, it is the long-term implicit memory that creates emotion and affects behaviour.