I think it’s healthy for there to be a direct relationship between memory and frequency for a brand. The more often a customer comes into contact with your brand, the more consistent the memory needs to be. That’s because brands that frequently interact with their customers have the power of habit on their side. In fact, when someone is buying from you frequently, the memory itself needs to focus on regularity: greeting customers by name; being easy to find; recognising what they like and maybe working with that; introducing suggestions that fit with what they’re looking for. The memories are smaller in their impact and their “experience” factor, but their frequency makes the effect powerfully cumulative.
By contrast, when your customers only interact with you occasionally, then the memory needs to be stronger and much more enduring. It literally needs to “last” until the next time a customer needs to buy because there isn’t the same front-of-mind of course – which means less consistent awareness and less reminders. It’s easy for customers to decide to explore a new technology or take advantage of what they see as a better price.
Natural or special? Which sentiment do you generate? The feeling that comes with a trip to your favourite deli or the excitement that wells up at the thought of a trip to another part of the world? That’s the choice for many brand experiences. Something so easy that life wouldn’t be the same without it. Or something so wonderful that you really look forward to buying it again.
Which one do you want to be? For some professions that’s easy. If you’re a grocery brand, for example, or a snack food. Or if you’re a luxury perfume or an upmarket clothes store. But sometimes that choice is less obvious? If you’re a firm of lawyers for example – how do you want your customers to feel about you? Natural or special? If you’re a consultant? Or a speaker? Do you want to be familiar, trusted, part of them, or a treat, something indulgent, an occasion?
Perhaps those are the real ways to think about positioning your brand. What expectation do you want to set, what timeframe do you want to interact in and what memory do you want to generate?