Imagine you’re watching a TED Talk live. The speaker you’ve been highly anticipating is a minute into the talk. What if, without warning, the speaker stopped talking and started crying? What would that do to your mental state?
Would you mirror the speaker’s sadness? How will your attention and memory of the TED Talk be affected?
Not all events are equally likely to be remembered; certain features of an experience, in this case, emotions, are more memorable than others.
Marketers must recognize the connection between the neuroscience of memory and emotion and apply it as a memory booster in marketing activations.
So what is an emotion, exactly? First, you’ll need to go past the topical, surface-level descriptors of emotions like anger, sadness, and happiness.
Think of emotion as a broader biological response to an event for marketing purposes. Emotions are how people deal with matters or situations they find personally significant.
There’s no surprise that emotional marketing resonates with consumers. The thing is, emotional marketing does much more than connect with consumers. Emotional marketing affects how much attention consumers pay to an activation.
It steers what consumers focus on, and yes, ultimately, it drives what consumers will remember. Emotion is an attention and memory booster.
Emotions act like superglue by making certain events stickier. As a result, emotional events are readily prioritized by the brain. Whether good or bad, if something is important enough to arouse your emotions, the brain assumes it is significant and, therefore, should be remembered.
This prioritization of emotional memories likely bears evolutionary importance. Highly emotional memories, such as being chased by an animal or eating mushrooms that made you sick, are lessons worth remembering to increase survival.
Emotions tell the brain what events to tag with a label reading “Important!”
What this tag is doing is boosting the process of consolidation and encoding. In addition, emotion strengthens the impression of an event.
In your marketing, you can utilize emotional memory in a few different ways. First, memories can be strengthened with simple stimuli like text.
You can use emotional words to facilitate a wide array of marketing contexts, such as billboards, banner ads, and brand messaging. Emotionally charged words like love, hate, and happiness are encoded and recalled more accurately than neutral words like desk, money, and highway.
The same applies to images. For example, emotional facial expressions in photographs boost memory more than non-expressive faces.
In a sense, all of marketing is a form of memory-making, which would make emotion the #1 tool to use across all activations. So take a step back and consider using AB tests to assess emotional elements across your marketing channels.
Emotions are at play throughout your consumers’ lives. Your marketing can earn greater attention and bury deeper in their memory by linking stronger emotions across the marketing mix. Let’s see how you take advantage of emotion as a memory booster.