Mental reminders work
The influence of mental reminders is well-illustrated by Jonah Berger's research.
In his study, two groups of students had to memorise sentences designed to encourage more fruit and vegetables intake in their diets.
One group was assigned the sentence: "Live the healthy way, eat 5 fruits and veggies a day".
The other group was assigned the sentence: "Each and every dining-hall tray needs 5 fruits and veggies a day".
He then examined the students' behaviour: did they eat more fruit and vegetables?
The first sentence had no effect on the students' behaviour. The second sentence had a positive effect: students in the second group ate 25% more fruit and vegetables.
Because there was a clear mental reminder or nudge in the phrase: "dining-hall tray".
When the students took a tray in the cafeteria, they were reminded of the sentence they had memorised.
The sight of the tray automatically activated their (consumer) behaviour.
Link mental reminders to your brand
Brands can also use mental reminders or nudges which can influence consumers to automatically think of the brand. These are called 'category entry points': situations or events that make people think of your brand. These moments activate the concept of your brand in consumers' brains, increasing the likelihood of consumers choosing your brand.Here are a few examples:
- Have you ever wondered why engagement rings include diamonds? It started with a clever marketing strategy from De Beers (one of the largest traders in the diamond industry). They effectively marketed that diamond symbolizes the unbreakable promise of an engagement, thus every engagement ring needs a diamond. Their campaign was so effective that both engagement rings and diamonds are inextricably linked even today.
- "A coffee break" is another good example. It could have been a milk break or a soft drink break. But marketers have linked both 'taking a break' with coffee, creating a strong nudge for drinking coffee during break times.
- Do you often get hungry around 4 o'clock? Cup a Soup - a Dutch instant soup company - knows this and has claimed the moment: "4 o'clock Cup a Soup". Through frequent communication, many Dutch people think of Cup a Soup at 4 o'clock.
Advice: claim specific moments for your brand
As a marketer, think about potential moments or situations that could be linked to your brand. It makes it easier for consumers to be automatically reminded of your brand and buy your products.
This learning illustrates an important goal of branding: to create memory structures around your brand, so that people think about your brand in different situations and moments.