Winning a cheerleading contest. Spending time with a cousin on a sailboat. Attending a prestigious university. Winning a fiction writing contest. Traveling across the ocean on an ocean liner. Performing as a soloist in the church choir. Spending Christmas Eve with your family. Scoring the winning goal in a hockey game. Riding with a neighbor in his sports car. Hanging out with your cousins at your uncle's country club's pool. Spending time with your family pet. Being attended to by a compassionate nurse while in the hospital. All of these can create fond memories, memories that are linked to a particular vocation, avocation, activity, organization or group of people. Then, in your adult life you gravitate toward these again as they make you feel good. They tap into those previous fond memories. Or, perhaps they were your one touch-point with happiness or prestige. Maybe they are associated with the one time that you felt best about yourself.
So, a church, a sport, a breed of dog, a hobby, a club membership, a profession, a place or even a specific color can evoke fond memories. Or, perhaps more than that, they can evoke a sense of belonging, safety, self worth, status or prestige.
A marketer's role is to discover and tap into these affirming symbols of personal well-being. Is the symbol a beach, a pet, a family dinner, a season, a certain type of architecture, an automobile brand or something else?
People pursue hobbies (genealogy, sailing, dressage, baseball card collecting, comedy improv, etc.) and careers (an engineer, a nurse, a doctor, an architect, an artist, a professional musician, a marine biologist, etc.) based on these early life experiences.
Do you know which symbols make people feel each of the following:
- Free and unencombered
- On top of the world
Consider how early life experiences factor into creation of the "ideal self" as one matures. This will help you tap into something very deep and emotionally compelling. The symbols and elements can be integrated to the brand's advertising and perhaps the brand experience itself.