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Introduction to memory design

1. Memory Design Introduction

Part of a short series on memory design

Denise Hampson
Tuesday 21st June 2022

Imagine if every day you had to relearn, re-figure out how to do everything brand new from scratch. Everything.

Memory is a key psychological process that we’d barely be able to exist without and it’s important for everything we do. Memory allows us to walk, to communicate, to recognise the faces of our friends, and to know key information about ourselves, our environment and the people in our lives. It allows us to remember events and experiences of the past, even from years ago, decades ago.

Memory allows us to bring the influence of those past events to future events, allowing us to learn, build interests, develop expertise and build relationships over time. By relationships I mean both in terms of the people in our lives, and also the organisations and brands we buy from and interact with.

Thomas Wolfe was an American autobiographical novelist, who drew extensively from his own life experience to form the content of his novels, and he famously said “We are the sum of all the moments in our lives”.

The stories we tell ourselves and other people about who we are, what we like, what interests us and what we care about, is based on our collection of memories of our path through our lives right up to today. It includes all the twists and the turns and the key moments and the key people who shaped how we got here to this point.

Thomas Wolfe quote - We are the sum of all the moments in our lives

I’d like to add an edit to Mr Wolfe’s quote, that is the story we tell ourselves is about the moments we can remember, and memory isn’t the fixed, reliable thing we may think it is!

A few years ago, my husband and I had a few hours spare on a rainy March day in Amsterdam. Looking for an indoor thing to do, we chose to visit the Heineken Experience, which is the immersive brand experience in the old Heineken factory on the edge of the city. I’m not a beer drinker, I actually don’t like beer, but it was an indoor attraction, out of the rain, and I went for the entertainment and to see what was there.

Heineken Experience, Amsterdam

90 minutes later I came out of that place as a person who not only drinks beer, but who really likes Heineken. Friends tell me there are better beers out there, and I’m sure there are, but I really like Heineken.

I’ve been back since and met some of the team behind the experience, and in the years in between I’ve visited many similar brand experiences around the world, been in some great and unusual immersive retail spaces and had the joy of working with some truly great brands.

What do they all have in common? They all apply the factors that lead to customers setting down great memories of their brand and their products. They help customers develop great brand associations.

Why is brand memory important?

Neuromarketing research over the years has consistently shown that the success of an advertising campaign can be predicted by consumers’ memories and their ability to recall a brand or product.

Memory is also a predictor of future buying behaviour. Simply, if a customer can easily recall seeing a product, either in real life or on a screen, then they’re more likely to put it in their real or virtual shopping carts in the future.

Ongoing brand loyalty relies 100% on brand memory. So, the challenge you face is how to help your customers create strong and positive memories of your brand and products. How can you gain a little extra of that real estate in your customers’ memory?

In this series of short daily posts on memory design we’ll be looking at how you can do this.

Next: Part 2 - A model of memory

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