One of the important memory systems in the brain is called episodic memory. It creates a mental map of events, places, times, and associated emotions. This type of memory is extremely powerful, automatically engaged and can readily be leveraged for boosting learning and recall. You may have experienced the power of episodic memory by revisiting a childhood home and suddenly being flooded with specific, detailed memories of events, people, or possessions from the distant past.
Creating a mental connection between your (personal) brand and the environment can similarly boost recall and recognition at a later point and – ideally – link positive emotions associated with place and time to your brand. This is one of the many reasons why advertisers pay big bucks to prominently feature their logos and brand elements along the sidelines, on sports equipment and uniforms at (emotionally charged) athletic events.You are elated that your team scored a point, your brain ties the strong emotion to the blended visual cues of athletes and brand-riddled backdrop.
Ties that bind – Creating a connection between your personal value proposition and your surroundings
Imagine you are enjoying a coffee break during a trade show and strike up a conversation with a fellow attendee – let’s call him Joel. In response to your “so….what do you do?” question he says “I make sure that the plane you’ll take back home won’t run out of fuel.” Upon further probing, you find out that Joel is a specialist in implementing large-scale supply chain systems and has just completed an engagement at a major domestic airline. Having used both emotion (who wouldn’t want to make sure there is enough fuel in your airplane?) and place (the conference location as well as your home base), he has effectively leveraged the most powerful components of episodic memory. It doesn’t really matter whether or not Joel’s enterprise supply chain solution was actually deployed at your preferred air carrier…the implied relevance and value of the services rendered to this or any other airline are clear. Consider for a moment if he had simply given a typical response of “I work in logistics” or “I am a supply chain consultant.” You might have nodded politely and forgotten both his name and occupation about 7 seconds later.
How can you leverage time, place and emotion to tie your personal value proposition and hook to your audience’s episodic memory? By trying out a “location-aware” messaging strategy at upcoming social, industry, and company events. Once on-site, consider items in your environment that you can reasonably link to your value proposition. This could include things like hotel amenities, furniture, art work, well-designed posters, the interpretation / translation staff, beautiful natural surroundings, transportation options, and many more. Develop a small number of contextually specific tag lines and try out a few iterations. Practice makes perfect, and exercising your creativity in this way will dramatically boost your memorability and “brand recall.”
For help with situational value propositions or to schedule your personal branding discovery session, please check the Personal Branding Services page.