Paul Marsden’s piece on “Thinking Fast and Slow” (thanks Hilton Barbour) raised some great marketing implications from Daniel Kahneman’s work that are well worth reading.

I loved the thinking about experiences versus memories, and the observation that our “remembered self” is the one that matters because that’s what motivates us. In the piece, Marsden discusses Kahneman’s theory of “fast thinking”, which is the non-logical thinking that powers consumer decision making. It reminded me of some notes I made some time back whilst re-reading Malcom Gladwell’s Blink.

Experiences versus memories

This was the question I scribbled in the margin. “If blink is the phenomenon of knowing before you know – then what is your brand’s blinkpoint?” In other words, what is the subconcious association you want consumers to have the next moment they encounter your brand before they even recognise how the brand makes them feel? What will they know before they even know it’s the brand?

Gladwell fans will also get the reference to “tipping point” in this blinkpoint idea because that associative memory of a brand and its meaning is something that I’d like to suggest accumulates and accelerates over time. The memories we have of a brand reach a critical point where, from then on, they drive the experiences we anticipate.

But if buyers have a bad experience, three things happen:

  • The experience we are having and our memory of what we expected to happen disconnect. The pattern breaks.
  • Our overall and accumulated memory of the brand also changes – and that affects how we think about the brand going forward. The anticipation changes.
  • The speed of association between a brand and an emotion slows down and we are more tempted to take a moment and consider other options.

Don’t market your brand on what your consumers are going to get. Market your brand on what your consumers are going to increasingly and rapidly remember. Invest in building and delivering on mass memories rather than mass awareness because if your brand doesn’t happen at that speed, it’s in danger of being overlooked.

Blink – or they’ll miss it.


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