Do you think you have a sharp memory? Do you think you can recall details better than the average person? You may be surprised to learn that most people think they have an impeccable memory. Sorry to break it to ya: that’s just not true.

You don’t have to take my word for it. As you know, I’m really digging National Geographic’s Brain Games show. It’s the perfect combo of brain games and learning about the human mind, which I find fascinating, as branding and marketing rely so much on human nature. This post is inspired by Season 1, Episode 3: Remember This!, an episode all about our faulty memories.

Your Fickle Brain

Your brain is constantly sorting through information, while throwing away the pieces it deems unimportant. So your memories start to fade almost immediately after your observation. That’s why detectives like to question witnesses as soon as possible. But even when interviewed immediately, eyewitness testimony is known to be “notoriously unreliable.”

Your memory doesn’t file away everything you see. Rather, it’s a highly selective process of receiving, retaining and recalling information. This process starts in the hippocampus, which receives information sent from your senses. The hippocampus’ job is to decide what info to retain and what to throw away. Information to keep is sent to storage for later recall. Anything else is expunged from your short-term memory in about 20 seconds. 20 seconds!

That’s barely enough time to remember a license plate, a phone number—or a logo or brand name. Our memory can only remember 5 to 7 items at a time, max. (Unless you’re my husband; then the max is 3. All that impressive, funny and impractical information he has stored up—like childhood commercial jingles—interferes with his ability to remember 5 grocery items.)

Your short-term memory is designed to help you function in the moment: find your car keys, cross the street, fetch something out of the refrigerator, etc. So how can those short-term memories get locked in long-term?

Memorable Branding: Pick Their Brains

To keep that information locked in and stored, those little bits of memories need to be relatable—that is to say, a connection must be formed. There’s a reason you remember the plot of an old novel, or the story of your 3rd grade school play, or the lyrics to a catchy-but-annoying song on the radio: those happenings are linked to other memories already in your brain, most often those housing emotions processed by your amygdala. [Read about how scent and memory are linked here.]

Any time you can link items together (especially using emotion), connections between neurons strengthen, which helps move information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory, where it can be recalled later.

You want your brand to be memorable. Otherwise what’s the point, right? So to get stuck in the brains of your target market, you need to give your logo, your marketing and your advertising some meaningful context. Make it relatable.

How do you make your brand memorable? For starters, look to your brand story. When you tap into the emotional part of your target’s brain, your brand will be stored in their memory, ideally and potentially forever! This is powerful stuff, people.

Think About It…
What brands are you loyal to, and why?
What is their brand story? Why does that story resonate with you?
If you like or dislike a brand’s story, you’re more likely to remember the brand: you’re either going to gush about your love for it, or spread your distaste.

You need to create a brand story that evokes emotion and creates meaningful connections in the hearts and minds of your target audience.

Ask Yourself…
How do you get your target interested?
How do you get your target to consider a purchase? How do you get them to purchase from you?
How do you create loyal customers? How do you continually reinforce that their decision to purchase from you was absolutely the right decision?
How do you create brand trust so that your brand becomes a part of their life?
How do you get your audience to be your brand advocate?

Weaving these answers into your brand story is the winning combination to attract and resonate with your ideal target audience. Create your relatable brand story, stand out, be remembered—and watch your brand flourish!