Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Branding and Memory

Memory encoding and recall are key elements in creating brand associations. This becomes even more critical in today’s over stimulated world to which people adapt through selective attention.

What can help a marketer break through the clutter? Most brand identities and marketing communications consist of words and visuals. However, scent is the most powerful way to encode and retrieve memories. This is why Cinnabon takes a variety of specific actions to maximize the probability that brown sugar and cinnamon scents drift into the shopping malls in which they operate. Burger King created its Flame body spray for men described as “the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat.” Sound is the next most powerful memory encoder and trigger. That is why Harley-Davidson attempted to trademark the sound of its engines and BMW (among other automakers) pursues engine-sound enhancement through its driver’s cabin speakers.

Attention is the biggest factor in memory encoding so make sure you have the target customer’s full attention when you attempt to encode the brand in his or her mind. Motivation increases the probability of successful memory recall so link the brand to something that creates maximum motivation to increase the brand’s probability of being recalled.  Emotionally charged words and concepts are better remembered than emotionally neutral words and concepts.

Associating the brand with something that has already been firmly encoded in the customer’s memory increases the likelihood that the brand will also be encoded. Related to this, the simpler the concept is to grasp, the more likely it will be encoded. Complicated concepts are much more difficult to encode. Linking the brand to something personally meaningful will also increase the likelihood of being encoded. Repetition helps in encoding, as do mnemonic devices (such as Roy G. Biv for the color spectrum).
Consistency of brand presentation also increases the success of memory retrieval. If multiple brand identity elements and their context are consistent between the moment of encoding and the moment of intended decoding, this will significantly increase retrieval success.
I wish you great success in maximizing your brand’s memory encoding and recall.

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