With smart phones ever-present among us, it’s not uncommon to see couples out to dinner not even looking at each other, but rather looking at their phones. I saw this happen just last night as I watched a gentleman spending a good deal of his evening texting on his cell phone. I couldn’t imagine what was so important that it could not wait, but I did notice his companion seemed none too pleased with the situation. She likely felt ignored, unimportant, barely noticed, as if she was simply taking up space at the table.
Witnessing this event got me thinking about brands and how so many simply take up space on the shelf, ignored and barely noticed. Sure, shoppers may be aware of the brand. They know it exists and maybe have seen a commercial or two for it. They may even “take it out on a date” if it’s on sale or their usual brand isn’t available. However, while using/consuming the product, the consumer may be thinking of their usual brand; the one on which they would rather spend their money.
It’s not enough for consumers to be aware of your brand. Awareness does not breed brand loyalty. Being present does. Being present means building brand memories in a meaningful way. Successful advertising breeds these thoughts and emotions but only a true connection seals the deal.
To build that connection with your consumers, let’s now imagine branded memories as living within an ecosystem. Like a strong relationship, memories need to be tended to, given nourishment. Simply being isn’t enough. We need to cultivate the relationship in order to watch it grow. What are the stages of a memory’s lifecycle? Let’s explore…
Brand Memories Are Born: With the introduction of a new idea, a first memory is born. Clearly define this new living space and where it should be within your consumer’s mind.
They are Nourished: Brand memories are nourished by experience, by communications across touch points and by other psychic nutrients. Give your brand’s memories the nourishment they need to thrive within your consumers’ minds.
They Grow: With the proper nourishment and attention, brand memories play a larger role in our consumers’ lives. They become present in daily life rather than waiting on a shelf fighting for attention.
They Compete: Memory is a limited resource in the brain. In the struggle for survival, stronger memories become dominant. In the same way as you may not remember what you wore on your first date to an old flame, brand memories that lay latent too long begin to be overwritten. Maintain your brand’s memory; keep it healthy and able to defend its rightful place in your consumer’s mind.
They May Die: Without nourishment and growth, brand memories die when starved for psychic nutrients. The study of memory formation is yin and yang with the study of the process of forgetting.
Or They Live On In A Complex, Interconnected Environment: Keep your brand’s memories healthy. Build them, evolve them, and show your consumers how they interact with other brands to form families and tribes of larger memory communities.
A brand is only a memory. Once it is forgotten, it no longer exists. Working to grow your brand’s memory can mean not only getting that second date but maybe … just maybe, getting a ring on that finger, too.