Lasting memories need reinforcing. Professor David Gallo, director of the Memory Research Laboratory of Chicago, says that “It’s not so much what we do with the original event, but the reviewing [of that memory]”. In other words, in order to form enduring memories, we need to replay the original event multiple times to “give the brain another chance to encode it”. Looking at photographs, writing about it, and telling friends all contribute to a kind of hardwiring of our memory.
Not only that, our memories are plastic. Each time we access a memory, it’s in a state of flux where it can be modified depending on how we think about it, the context in which it’s revisited. Says Gallo, ” You can set down another memory trace that is then remembered as part of the original. It then becomes very difficult to differentiate the two. If the way you are thinking about the memory the second time is different than the way it happened the first time, it’s a way to potentially introduce biases or distortions in how we remember.”
The implications are two fold for marketers.
Guilding the Lily
We have the opportunity to build on good experiences and enhance and strengthen the perception of positive associations over time. There’s plenty of avenues to do this in both the analog world and virtual. Chances are you might be doing some already, but how do you consolidate this as a conscious strategy? We’ve got plenty of examples and tools to help your brand make a good brand experience better.
Reinventing the Past
Brands are only human, we make mistakes all the time. It’s how we deal with them that matters. Understanding the plasticity of memory underlines the need to work really hard to actively mitigate the impact of our mistakes and reinforce the positives. Again, there are many ways in which to achieve this, it takes planning and know how.