Brands are memories

We are always collecting memories about a multitude of brands, and consequently the companies behind them. The interactions we have with their people, what others say about them, the ads we see and how the products work – all contribute to how we feel about them.

So when facing hard choices, how do we ultimately decide which brands are right for us? Is it more emotional or rational?

Consider John

He really likes a particular car brand. He can rationalize spending the money because it almost always works, it’s the right size and he thinks the quality is outstanding. But, he chooses the brand because:

  • He likes the look
  • It drives well
  • It fits his personal style – and lifestyle

When building brands, it’s certainly important that it’s products and services work well. And every communication needs to have a consistent level of brand integrity. But lots of companies can make these claims. Integrity may help keep a brand stable, but it isn’t a uniqueness factor.

What’s more important is to understand what moves people emotionally. These are the things that trigger their behavior. Not their habits, but the conscious choices they make based on experience and memories.

So what if John lost his memory?

Imagine how difficult and time-consuming car shopping would be without brand experience, or memories, to rely upon.

The most successful brands are always the most memorable ones. And they are memorable because they have made an emotional connection with their customers. In the world of branding, there is no such thing as playing it safe. You are either making memories, or you aren’t.