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We all forget things: keys, important dates, where we parked our car. But in the noisy and crowded world of marketing, how can we encourage our customers to remember our brand information?

What is memory?

Memory is the process of acquiring information in your environment, encoding and storing it in the brain so it can be retrieved when needed. As marketers, that means our customers are able to recall information related to our products and services. Think of the brain as the equivalent to a CPU in a computer, processing all the information coming in! But, how can we encourage our consumers to process information in a way that it will be remembered?

The three components of memory 

Let’s take a deeper dive into human memory. Firstly, it’s important to establish that there are three types of memory:

  1. Sensory memory– our ability to keep some information in our head briefly, like the audio or visuals from an advertisement.
  2. Short term memory- where information which is currently being processed is held. Some will be processed in the filing drawers of our memory, some will be discarded. 
  3. Long term memory– the one we’ve all been waiting for! This is where information is stored for future retrieval. It has unlimited capacity and permanent duration of storage.  

If we want our customers to store our brand information long term, the information must journey through each type of memory. Think of it like a cognitive promotion, from sensory to short to long term! 

So, we’ve unravelled the storage boxes of the brain, but how can you encourage your brand information to be promoted in the minds of your customers? We’ve pulled out all the stops on this one, check out our swanky flow diagram: 

Encouraging memory storage 

As you can see, to go from sensory memory to short term memory, we need to stimulate our customers attention. Having stimulating images, colours and dialogue which is interesting and relevant can achieve this. In fact, anything to make you stand out from the crowd in a positive way! A great benchmark (pardon the pun) of attention grabbing marketing are the Kit Kat benches, which capitalise on our humour and surprise to leave a positive impression. And get us thinking about chocolate, nom!

To go from short to long term memory, we require ‘cognitive elaboration’. Sounds complicated, but we’ll break it down! In a nutshell, this is the processing of information deeply, so that its meaning is considered. In marketing, we have a few tactics to achieve this. 

Firstly, repetition. This is the bread and butter of a successful marketing plan. If we want our customers to store information in their long term memory, it’s very useful to have an integrated campaign which promotes the same ideas. Presenting your brands benefits using consistent language will reinforce the ideas you’re putting across, and encourage their long term storage. 

Next, mnemonics. These are memory devices which aid learning, such as rhymes, acronyms and metaphors which will be associated with your brand over time. For example, Red Bull’s classic claim that it will ‘give you wings’ conveys the energy and capability that the brand wishes to associate with their drink in one catchy sentence. Another, (more annoying!) example is this guy:

If you haven’t had the ‘Go Compare’ song stuck in your head at one point, you’re one of the lucky ones! The brand was able to stick in the memory of listeners through it’s memorable and repetitive lyrics. In turn, the song was associated with the brand offering, filed away in the long term memory of customers for when they did in fact need to go and compare! 

You can see how Red Bull and Go Compare successfully used mnemonic memory devices that would stay with us long term. Next time you’re at the marketing drawing board, see if you can use mnemonics to have a greater impact on your customers long term memory. 

Let’s summarise..

There we have it, consumer memory in a nutshell! Memory is not a singular concept, it’s made up of our sensory, short term and long term memory. In viewing memory this way, you can use attention grabbing tactics like Kitkat to encourage short term processing. To take it to the next level of long term, you can begin elaborative rehearsal through repetition and mnemonics to stay on your consumers mind in a meaningful way. 

Now that you’ve nailed the ways in which you can encourage long term memory storage, why leave it there? Check out our blog post on making your content work harder for you to get even more out of your messaging: