Memory, A Second Chance For Perception
The largest unexplored marketing opportunity?
Conventional wisdom tells us that memory works like a video recording: Our brain films our life and plays the video when we use our memory. However, research conducted in recent years by neuroscientists has shown that memory re-creates – instead of reproducing – the events of our lives. This is why our memory is fallible. And it’s a great thing for marketers.
What do we know about memory that might interest brands?*
- Two parts of our brain play a key role in memory: (i) The hippocampus that collects and temporarily stores new factual informations – Alzheimer’s disease affects the hippocampus – and (ii) the amygdala that handles the emotional dimension of memory. The majority of the informations that we store are purely factual and are managed by the hippocampus. The amygdala, on the other hand, stores – largely unconsciously – precise informations on our emotional feelings and imprecise facts.
- Our brain can not store all the informations it has to manage. It summarizes and stores the bulk of our experiences – for example forming associations between souvenirs.
- The replay of our memories is influenced by our mood and environment of the moment. This is why several people may have a different recollection of the same event without necessarily being wrong or dishonest.
- Our new experiences affect the neural connections in our brain and thereby influence our existing memories.
- The more distant in time is our experience, the more likely it is to be recreated by our brain when we replay our memories.
The functioning of our brain – recreating memories, evolving souvenirs over time… – opens a great opportunity for marketers: They can create positive experiences for customers in order to “edit” their bad memories.
In perception, we always have a second chance.
* As every time I mention neuroscience concepts, I kindly ask scientists to forgive my excessive simplification of the issue.