One of the biggest dilemmas in branding is finding ways to separate and stand out from the crowd. In marketing, we do this through a range of different areas; positioning, visual identity, tone of voice, brand personality, culture, product, people, etc.
The thing is, before you even focus on those areas, you need to have an understanding of how your people tick, and I’m not talking about old mate Janet who is 37 yo woman with 2 kids, married, works part-time, and has a household income of 145k. I’m talking about getting inside the way our brains remember things, so you can stay top of mind for when someone is ready to buy.
Put simply, you want to be the numero uno in the decision-making process when your people are ready to buy (also known as the consideration set, we’ll talk about that another day).
Let’s dive into this a little deeper.
Our brains have a process that leads to what we call memory storage, and memory storage has 3 stages; encoding, storage, and recall.
Now, let’s break these down.
Encoding (aka information entering your brain)
This is the beginning stage where we learn the information. It’s exposure to whatever you’re learning and understanding (eg. listening to a song or seeing an ad) be that randomly or deliberately. This stage is then broken down into 4 more areas:
- Visual encoding – how it looks (sight)
- Acoustic encoding – how it sounds (hearing)
- Semantic encoding – what it means (interpretation)
- Tactile encoding – how it feels (intuition)
Information is usually transferred through 1 of these 4 methods.
You still with me?
Cool, let’s carry on.
This is where our brains go either ‘yeah, alright, I’ll save you for later’ or ‘mm, that’s a pass’. The thing is we have 2 different types of memory; short-term and long-term. At first, the encoded (processed) information enters into your short-term memory, and the only way it will stay here is through constant repetition (aka consistency).
Where are my business owners at? Consistency is key, ya get it now?
Think of your short-term memory like RAM on your computer, the more it gets filled, the slower our brains work, so eventually, we close a few tabs. Don’t be that tab. Long-term memory, on the other hand, is a beast and its storage capabilities are insane (lifelong memories anyone?), and you can move your brand here.
So, now we’ve touched on how we retain information, let’s talk about how we get that information out when we need it. Otherwise known as retrieval or recall.
This is where we dive into our memory and get that sucker out when needed. Our short-term memory is limited, giving us a storage space of say 5-9 things at a time, and is usually limited by time lasting around 15-30 seconds (according to Harvard). You know those situations where you have an idea and you tell yourself ‘I’ll remember’, so you don’t write it down, and then low and behold, you forget? Yeah, that.
Your long-term memory however stores information differently and works through association. This, my friends, is where sensory information is important. What you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch plays a big role in how you retain information. Ever wonder why certain songs trigger a memory? Or a smell takes you back to a place?
If you want to know more about brand association? Read our previous blog post ‘Understanding Brand Association here’.
For now, that’s a basic rundown on how we retain memory (aka knowing how your brand can stay in your audience’s mind for them to recall, otherwise known as brand recognition). With this information you can begin to look at strategies that are memorable and trigger recall; colour, sonic (audio) branding, movement, tone, symbolism, jingles… sing it with me now ‘we’re happy little Vegemite’s…”
That aside, one of the most important things? Customer experience, never undervalue it. Our behaviours are guided by our emotions, and how you make someone feel will always be the most memorable attribute.
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