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Cracking Memory Marketing: A walk down memory lane

Do you ever find yourself in conversations like this? If you do, it could be because you are in a state of nostalgia. While the concept of nostalgia has been around for a while, the idea of memory marketing is an ever-expanding one. 

Businesses may be aware that simply reminding customers of their presence in the market is often insufficient for sustaining success. Marketing campaigns and communications, among other means, when done properly help in enhancing the influence that a product or service possesses over one’s mind. Merely encountering or seeing an item that has made an impression in one’s mind can sway them towards anything that may remotely represent its characteristics.

Comprehending memory marketing

Memory marketing revolves around the idea of reminding customers of some past experiences. For instance, when people think of video game consoles, many instantly recall PlayStation consoles. However, there are also those people who go way back to the Game Boy Advance devices or Sega’s consoles. Good times, eh?

The association of memories with good times has led to the resurgence of vintage devices and other memorable items/collectables, whether in their original form or as modernised versions. As a result, re-releases have got people raving and rocking them with an elevated sense of excitement and satisfaction. Just ask music fans, who have been on the watch for re-releases of old songs from popular musical artists. 

How have brands capitalised on memories, now and then?

What all the buzz is about

Recently, the popular musical group of artists NSYNC got back together at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs). While fans were all over the moon with this reunion, Universal Pictures has confirmed that the group will release their first song in 20 years as part of the Trolls 3 soundtrack. 

Another example is that of instant cameras. First developed in 1948 by Polaroid, these gained immense global popularity. However, as time passed by, the brand’s efforts to stay relevant were unsuccessful, leading to the discontinuation of its instant cameras in 2008.

Now, these are making a comeback. One might wonder how this comeback has been fueled.

To start off, they have been collaborating with several organisations, like the Lacoste x Polaroid collaboration. In this way, the concept of instant photography was revived with widespread acclaim when the Impossible Project took over, and relaunched as “Polaroid Originals”.

The forgetting curve: understanding how information is retained in our minds

Retention of information among the viewers is a crucial element of any successful marketing communication. However, it may be forgotten for many reasons. The fact that humans forget information instantly is well-known. 

In the 1880s, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus introduced the Ebbinghaus Curve (also known as the forgetting curve). Using a graph, he plotted information that demonstrated the relationship between the amount of information forgotten and the time elapsed, based on a test of his ability to remember words and syllables over different periods of time. Ebbinghaus discovered that after 20 minutes, individuals could only recall 60% of what they had learned and this decreased to just 34% after a day. 

In more recent times, a Nielsen research project showed that when consumers were exposed to a series of video advertisements to test their memory retention the following day, brand recognition dropped by 50% during that time.

What makes marketing communication so memorable

Marketers, when you think of a brand, what comes to mind first? 

Is it the brand’s slogan, its visual identity, or an iconic product it introduced some time ago? What makes these elements so memorable? 

Catchy statements and vivid visuals form a formidable bond. By harnessing these, along with the occasional yet memorable pop-culture reference that an individual/ group of individuals share, brands are not only able to capture the attention of viewers but also build an identity of a product/ product ecosystem that revolves around this reference or memory.

Memorable brands do not merely occupy a brief moment in consumers’ minds; they leave an impression. Crafting a lasting impression, however, is a daunting task.

Here’s how one can create an unforgettable brand via marketing communication.

Marketing C.R.E.A.T.E.S memories. Here’s how

Here are seven principles marketers can keep in mind to create a memorable brand.

  • Consistency

A good portion of the world’s most recognisable brands owes their success to consistency. We’re talking consistency over a certain number of years, not months or a singular year. 

Just ask Disney, who have remained at the peak of their powers via consistent brand elements, and minimal changes in their logo over the years.

  • Repetition

When you log in to a social media platform and start following a brand’s account, here’s what you will see.

  • The constant use of the brand’s assets like its logo, slogan, and others.

  • A message to encourage interactions with the brand, in the form of purchases or online means of communication like direct messages.

Here’s an interesting concept; the Spacing Effect. According to it, a brand is more memorable when it has been seen multiple times in commercials or otherwise. However, these views do not come one after another and are spread over certain time intervals.

  • Emotion

Here are some facts from Deloitte Digital about why emotion is a necessity to make information stick in human minds.

  • 60% of long-term customers communicate their connection with their favourite brands via emotional language.

  • 44% of customers would recommend a brand to their friends or colleagues based on emotional criteria.

  • Attention

Attention-grabbers often take a vital position in any form of marketing communication, be it in the form of a catchy slogan or vivid visuals.

Such communication does not just hook the attention of the viewer but also is easy to notice and inspires them to think differently. Here’s one such advertisement that turned heads and incited anticipation!

  • Time

It is a well-known fact that people do not have their eyes glued to their screens 24/7. However, making sure that communications are in place at appropriate time intervals is significant in retaining attention.

This should be done so that brands are successful in attracting the attention of many viewers, whether they are people looking for products/services similar to what these brands offer or those who may be interested in these products.  

  • Experience

Experiences inspire engagement. As simple as it sounds, it has often been noted that when one experiences something, there is a greater chance that one will remember the concept quite well.

For instance, the British fitness clothing line Gymshark is globally renowned for its products. To increase further engagement, the brand has been collaborating with influencers and other brands; one example being its collaboration with Bumble!

  • Storytelling

Everyone has a story, and the same goes for brands.

For instance, Airbnb brought out how it excels at customer experiences to the eyes of its audience through the “Belong Anywhere” campaign, where viewers learned more about Airbnb hosts and what guests can expect while staying with them!

What lies ahead

The rise of nostalgic feelings and thoughts in people's minds will propel their drive to associate with said feelings via objects (tangible or intangible) that resonate with their memories. 

Memory marketing is generally viable for brands that have maintained a strong market presence over the years or for those with products that evoke nostalgic feelings in people’s minds.

The market for nourishing memories will soar high. However, up-and-coming brands need to solidify their stance and develop products that are worth the attention of customers and are memorable, because, in times of uncertainty, we crave familiarity.



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