When it comes to PR, you need to be remembered – and for all the right reasons.
Charlotte Nichols, founder and managing director of PR, social media, and content marketing agency Harvey & Hugo, explains how she and her team create lovable and memorable brands.
At Harvey & Hugo, one of the most important aspects of our work is to create memorable brands – it’s even in our tagline.
But what is memory, why is it so important to public relations and how can you make sure you’re hitting the right spot?
What is memory?
First of all, what exactly is our memory? Well, psychologist Robert Sternberg described it as “the means by which we draw on our past experiences in order to use this information in the present” – seems fair enough.
But how do we actually make those memories? Here we’ll take a brief diversion into the realms of neuroscience…
Memories are made through forming neural connections, and these large networks of neural connections are called engrams – a permanent record of changes in the brain in response to an event or feeling.
These connections in the brain are formed and then reinforced through repetition – think of cramming for exams, for example.
In fact, we often say that the brain is like a muscle and memories are similar; they need to exercise regularly and consistently. The more you subject the brain to the same knowledge, the more connections it will make and the more memories it will form.
Why are they important to brands?
Memories influence our opinions and behaviors, making them an important part of PR – without them, brands couldn’t exist.
Our brain perceives the brand, assigns an emotion to it, and then files it away with other similar associations – maybe linking Christmas with John Lewis or the sound of an ice cream van with Walls.
PR works by building and strengthening these connections, or even starting from scratch – who’d heard of Amazon 20 years ago?
For a real-life example, let’s look at one of the most famous brands of all, Coca-Cola.
If all of Coca-Cola’s manufacturing, storage and distribution plants disappeared, there would still be demand for the product, thanks to our memories of the brand; it may well be that the scarcity would even drive that demand.
However, if we all suffered from collective, highly-specific amnesia that deleted our memory of the drink overnight, the brand would have to start over – and, nowadays, it would most likely be lost amidst all the competition.
This example clearly highlights the power of intangible assets over physical ones: in many cases, they’re the most important asset a brand has.