Last week we teamed up with Campaign to deliver the fourth edition of their Underground event series, the promise; unexpected voices in unusual places – a rare chance to be genuinely inspired. ‘Focal recall: The art and science of mastering memories’ certainly landed left-of-field.

Take a 19th-century horse hospital (turned iconic nightspot) by Camden market, line it with an eclectic mix of speakers – including psychologists, neuroscientists and a Grand Master of Memory – convert the old horse stables into ‘memory chambers’; experience-led spaces where touch, sound, smell and taste are all engaged to create (or recreate) moments of nostalgia and emotional connection. Finally, fill the space with industry patrons seeking to unlock the power of memory; how humans create them, where and how they are stored, and how brands stand to benefit in an age of cognitive overload. Sounds like a blast, right?

So, what did Green Room bring to the party? If you’ve ever been in, or experienced an approaching thunderstorm, emotions such as excitement, fear, anticipation, even relaxation may immediately spring to mind. Using human-centred design principals, we explored how brands might go about creating strong links between abstract memories like these, to create immersive experiences that increase product engagement in the retail space – elevating desire and ultimately propensity to purchase.

As well as our CCO Mike Roberts taking to the stage to introduce Green Room insight, strategy and ‘mike robots’ – Mike’s own, personal aide-memoire – we also took over one of the memory chambers to create the ‘Eye of the Storm’; allowing us to bring on-stage theory to life through high-sensory interaction. More on this from Mike soon.

During the second session of the day MoneySuperMarket and Birds Eye, demonstrated their very different routes into leveraging nostalgia and deeply embedded memory structures to successfully connect their brands with today’s discerning customer.  MSM cleverly dipping back into many of our childhoods (Skeletor, He-Man and Action-Man) to negate any equitable brand heritage, to ‘epic’ effect, while Birds Eye celebrated the fact their notorious Captain ‘became a hottie and know one knows how to handle it’ – the thread that joined them and countless other brands right now being that childhood memories rekindled, sell!

 

According to the Nielsen Media Research Music Year-end report, 2017, sales of tape cassettes rose by a massive 35% last year, the now seemingly prehistoric mediums best performance since 2012  

 

My view was that the key-note talks and the mix of immersive experiences did well to answer part of the original premise; how to create lasting brand memories and not fleeting impressions, this said, what also became clear is that there are some fundamental guidelines that need to be followed to ensure that your back-to-the-future episode evokes the desired emotional state. Here’s my key take-aways from the day:

 

Sensory information shapes how information is recalled and perceived in the future

A key campaign emotion trumps a key campaign visual every time! Campaigns that enhance positive, congruent emotions (leveraging the senses to create anticipation, surprise, or delight) create stronger memory structures that are better remembered.

 

Because memory is anything but infallible…

Certainly if you ask my wife, my recall on exactly how certain (joint) experiences transpired can be a little suspect! There are a host of reasons why this might be the case – she doesn’t drink by the way – but ultimately the brains storage is pretty efficient in not storing entire journeys, instead retaining the key moments within. In a world of information bombardment make your customer’s journey simple and unforgettable by focusing on the key moments, make them emotional, make them memorable.

 

Think beyond the ‘big campaign’, start joining together the omni-channel dots

Mike talked about some of our work creating multi-sensory experiences in the physical space, as we know, bricks ad mortar is only one touch-point on the path to purchase. The big challenge is recreating some of these experiences – or at least triggering the same emotional responses – wherever customers choose to engage with your brand, further extending the memory.

 

 

At Green Room we obsess about the power of sensory design, whether for sport, music, automotive or beyond. And we know that relationships matter; from that first interaction to the reasons to re-engage, that’s why we jumped at the opportunity to get involved in Campaign’s Underground movement.

It ultimately turned out to be a very memorable day – to coin part of Mike’s opening address; I was ‘proud to be amongst a unique collective of individuals, focused on the power of the past, present and future.

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