Monday, July 27, 2015

Brands and Memory Structures

An important role of the brand manager is to determine the memory structures associated with the brand so that marketing communications can reinforce and leverage these structures. Also, potentially useful new brand associations can be discovered in the process.

For instance, Bush beans might be associated with summer, picnics, grilling, family and Duke (the dog). Coke might be associated with its bottle shape, the color red, the beach, parties and nightclubs. A pizza brand might be associated with cheese and tomato sauce, family and friends and watching sports on television. Hallmark's greeting cards are associated with holidays, special occasions, family and friends. But they also are associated with candy and flowers among other product categories.

Everyone knows McDonald's arches and Nike's swish. Most people associate Harley-Davidson with the sound of its engine. Many people associate Tesla with Elon Musk and batteries and alternative energy. People associate Cinnabon with the cinnamon scent. Many brands are associated with fond childhood memories or with sex. What is Old Spice associated with? How about Dos Equis? ("Stay thirsty, my friends.") GEICO? 

The trick is to discover all of the items people associate with the brand so that those associations can be reinforced, built upon and used to help people recall the brand associated with not only marketing communication and the brand identity itself, but also with specific relationships, occasions, complimentary products and other memory triggers.

If you have not identified and mapped out your brand's memory structures, you need to do so. it will help with the effectiveness of your advertising and your brand's identity system.

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