the internet ideas blog

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Top of Mind Awareness

Did you know that simply walking through a doorway can make you forget what you were doing? It's true! A study conducted by Gabriel Radvansky and Notre Dame found that if you walk through a doorway you'll forget the mission you were on.  Which explains all those times you've walked from one room to another and thought "What did I come in here for?"  Doorways act as an event eraser.  Strange but true.

Our brain has the ability to do wonderful things, especially when it comes to memory.  We get to recall our most pleasant events years later when triggered by a sound, fragrance or sight.  We can force ourselves to remember the multiplication tables for quick reference when we need them. And we can remember that really cool company that we saw last week advertising those widgets that we knew we would need at some time but . . . can we really?

The "old school" advertising rule was that people could remember 7 things plus or minus 2 items.  That's where we come up with the "navigation should have 10 links or less" and "7 is a lucky number."  But it turns out that's not really true either.

Try this experiment - name 7 brands in 5 seconds.  No cheating!  How far did you get? If you are like most of us you maybe could come up with 4 then started to struggle.

Obviously if you want to make sure someone remembers your company name, you'll need to do a good job of making sure you get it out there repeatedly because people go through doorways all the time!  Seriously though, it's getting to be more of a challenge daily to get people to remember to call you instead of your competitor or the first sign they see on the highway.

How do you do it? Repetition for starters.  When they see your brand in social media, in an email, on a search engine result page and on a website the sheer repetition starts to set in.  The bad thing is, when you stop the repetition the brand falls off the top of their mind and is replaced with some other brand.

If you want them to remember something on your website - make it really stand out! No kidding! Turns out all the bold, italics, Times New Roman in the world doesn't replace the eye appeal to the memory like a graphic artists worst nightmare of a font catastrophe! (From a study by Princeton and Indiana University)

Oh, and about that doorway - I don't know this for a fact but I bet when you move from one page to the next on a website a similar effect happens which is why you need the contact information on every page (what was I looking for again?).

So now that you know a bit more - will you remember it? If you use your hands while talking about this concept you will - guaranteed! But that's a whole 'nuther blog post.

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