Jul 7, 2010

Your customers are drawn to the familiar

For the past 2 weeks my office has been caught up in World Cup madness. The TV’s been on in the lunchroom, the boardroom and even our desktops. It’s hard not to get swept up in the excitement.

I had an interesting “a-ha” moment the other day as I watched the England-Germany match. Each country’s flag sparked different memories and emotions for me. I was very engaged in the match, because I had connections to each country. On the other hand, the USA-Ghana match was an incredible game, but I couldn’t connect with the match in the same way.

Try a little thought experiment. Look at the images of the 4 countries’ flags:

England, Germany, Ghana, United States Flags

Observe what comes to mind. What emotions do you feel? What thoughts come to mind?

We’re drawn to what we know

I struggled with Ghana’s flag. Prior to the World Cup I didn’t have any stories or examples to draw on. I have strong personal connections to England, Germany and the United States. Ghana on the other hand was a country I knew little about.

Symbols trigger memories and associations. The more exposures we have to a symbol, the more memories we will have to draw from. That’s the source of your thoughts and emotions as you see the flags.

Let’s look at another example. Look at these brand marks:

Starbucks Tim Hortons Logos

Again, observe what comes to mind. What thoughts and emotions emerge? Well recognized brands can have the same impact as flags.

Depending on your tastes you will be drawn to either the Starbucks or Tim Hortons. Each will conjure up opinions and experiences. On the other hand, if you have never seen one of the logos it will have little impact on you.

The goal is to create a bank of memories

Starbucks and Tim Hortons’ brands were not built over night. They took years of brand development, advertising and repetitive exposures.

One exposure is not enough. The more we are exposed to a brand, the more we develop connection to it. We like what we are familiar with.

The challenge I leave for you is how can you create more experiences and exposures with your market place? Each experience leaves a memory. Your goal is to create a bank of memories that your customers can draw on so they think of you first when they’re ready to buy.

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