When brand building for a small business, we are ultimately relying on the memory of the audience.  The money and time spent in marketing has little value if the message does not register.  So, how do we approach brand building in a way that utilizes the way that the brain structures memories?

Simply put, there are three categories of memory: short-term, working, and long-term.  Short-term memory involves all the stimulus around you day-to-day, even if you did not recognize it as it happened.  Once we use the information or pay attention to it in some way, it becomes part of our working memory.  Working memory is more active, but its duration is still short.  If you don’t process the information, it will probably be purged from your memory within 10-20 seconds.  Long-term memory is where we store information we have processed fully.  There are still levels there, but this information can be stored indefinitely.

What effect does this have on your marketing?  If someone only spends 5 seconds looking at your marketing message to begin with before getting distracted by something else, what is the likelihood that your brand will suddenly become ingrained in long-term memory for recall later?  Pretty slim!

Effective marketing involves getting your message into your audience’s long-term memory. When we think about principles of good marketing, they have to have some bearing on this process of transferring information from short-term to working to long-term memory among our audience.  Here are some things that we are aiming for to assist in that process:

  • Getting attention – For input to move from short-term to working memory, the audience has to pay attention to it. Think about all the people you pass on a busy street.  Most of them you don’t even notice, but you may focus on certain people in the crowd.  Think about the percentage of people you actually notice.  That is the sweet spot –and it is the sweet spot for your brand, too.
  • Frequent reminders – It is said that we lose at least 50% of what we learn within 24 hours. Frequent reminders allow the brain to keep coming back to the idea to continue to process it.  The Rule of Seven plays into this, as well. (See more about the Rule of Seven here).
  • Consistency – The brain locks into patterns more readily than randomness. If you are consistent with the messaging of your brand, if you are repetitive with the message you are giving, the brain has a chance to spot the consistency of those patterns.
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Understanding how the brain stores information is an interesting way to think about how to get your audience to USE the messages you give them about your brand.

If you want to get more insight on how to keep your audience with you longer so that your message will be more likely to get filed into the long-term memory, read here.