Seasonal springtime show producers always worry that people will forget their events during the year-long layover before their marketing campaigns kick in. Whether you produce a home show, flower & patio show or a home improvement event, some forms of social media, email marketing and web promotions throughout the year can help keep your brand in the minds of the consumer. For the most part, those consumers are the ones with whom you have already developed a longer-term relationship, and who are staying in touch as part of their normal routine and interests.

So, what about new show-goers, or the ones that frequent your show but have less incentive to develop a more common, interest-base relationship with you?

Learning a little bit more about how these consumers’ brains work in processing and remembering data, might help establish better insights for you in marketing your event.

I’m sure you have heard this phrase before: “It’s all about impressions, establishing your brand in the long-term memory section of your consumer’s brain.” But how does this learning process actually happen? It’s a neurological phenomenon that researchers are just beginning to understand as we learn how our brains — our organic computers — operate.

Neuroscience researchers have theorized that there are two types of memory bins in our brains: short term (STM) and long term (LTM), the latter which is better known as “working memory.” Some researchers argue that there also resides a middle-term memory (MTM) where a branded marketing message might best survive. Learn more here

STM stores instant data in the cerebral cortex as it receives sensory messages from the eyes, ears and touch sensors of our body. These senses are stored for just a fraction of a second unless an impression can be made that allows for the brain an evaluation process of at least eight seconds.

When it’s time for an individual to make a decision, an internal conflict begins in the brain, requiring a resolve, or, an end to the conflict, in an effort to satisfy the load put upon the brain as part of several million other computations that are going on all at the same moment in time.

Think of our brains operating like a Google search, displaying the appropriate initial results from the established criterion with access to these three compartments. For the consumer, a key impression or striking visual related to your brand keeps your product’s identity higher up in the brain’s medium-term real estate, ready to be retrieved when the time is right, and the appropriate sensory associations can be identified.

The three Rs
Once retrieved, the brain’s decisive phase is to resolve it’s internal conflict that is driven by it’s need to make a decision, whereby a relationship with your brand can commence.

Once the three Rs are established, your brand can be stored in the long-term compartment of the consumer’s brain whereby the bond with your brand can last a lifetime. “Things go better with Coke.”

Neuroscience research has found that when test subjects were exposed to words on a video screen for no longer then 100th of second, that word and its image were retained for substantially longer periods in the subjects unconscious when compared to normal exposure of the same impression served up for the conscious mind to retain. Again, if the consumer’s brain retains the image for longer than eight seconds, that data has a greater opportunity to travel to the long-term memory compartment for later retrieval.

It appears that the frequency of the image transferred through the sensory system contributes to that eight-second MTM depository. In other words, for the brain to remember and recall, it needs a repetitive “message” to give it a reason for your brand to stay lodged in the individuals mind for an extended period of time.

When we experience sensory stimuli, our unconscious brain serves up those impressions for our conscious mind to evaluate. The process is complete and the branding relationship established when the individual’s mind “calls up” the data and the brain responds with a drop of dopamine, a chemical component that offers a sensory euphoria in response to the stimulus from your message. Of course a bad relationship can offer equally bad results. So be careful of your message!
The trick in branding is to establish a striking image that will resonate in the unconscious part of the brain, traveling from STM through MTM and, if need be, landing in LTM, the most cherished compartment for our rational decision-making process.

That sensory image must become a top contender when the consumer needs to call it up as part of an evaluation process.

That’s why strong visuals and a socially acceptable environment for your event play a defining role in providing a lasting image for the brain to retain.

It takes time, focus group research and, if possible, fMRI testing to find the strategy that is mutually satisfying for you, your show and the consumer.

More on fMRIs in our next post!