Every time a customer interacts with your brand it creates a memory. A customer’s perception of a brand is the collection of all their memories of that brand. Customers use these memories to learn how to interact with your brands.
Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner and one of the founders of behavioral economics, made the following distinction about how experience and memory affect our future behavior: “We actually don’t choose between experiences, we choose between memories of experiences. And even when we think about the future, we don’t think of our future normally as experiences. We think of our future as anticipated memories.”
It’s not about the actual experience, it is about the memory of the experience or the story the experience creates. Memories tend to be created around three areas – change, significant moments, and the ending.
All three areas are important; however, endings are critical as they can change an amazing experience into a negative memory. An example Kahneman provided was an evening out where everything – the company, atmosphere, service, and food – was exceptional, but then at the end the waiter spills burning hot coffee on you. Your memory of the night is now focused on the experience of having burning hot coffee on you and not the earlier amazing experience.
Our memories influence the way we act depending on how the experience affected us. We enjoy positive experiences, and when they are provided, we try seeking them out again. We act differently in situations when our memories tell us the experience will drive negative emotions.
Think about the experience your company creates, what is the experience being delivered? You should be ensuring it meets or exceeds your customers’ expectations – but more importantly, you should be asking yourselves what is the memory being created? Let’s talk about the memories you create and want to create.