Memory processes encoding


Memory encoding refers to how and where information gets into memory. Memory encoding can be characterized according to the mount or quantity of processing that information receives at encoding that is how much a person thinks about the information and the nature or quality of processing that information receives at encoding. The manner in which a person thinks about the information. The quantity and quality of processing will be an important determinant of the strength of an association.

In general, the more attention placed on the meaning of information during encoding, the stronger the resulting associations in memory will be. When a consumer actively thinks about and “elaborates� on the significance of product or service information, stronger associations are created in memory. Another key determinant of the strength of newly formed associations will be the content, organization, and strength of existing brand associations in memory.

It will be easier for consumers to create an association to new information when extensive, relevant knowledge structures already exist in memory. One reason why personal experiences create such strong brand associations is that information about the product is likely to be related to existing knowledge.

Consider the brand associations that might be created by a new TV ad campaign employing a popular celebrity endorser, designed to create a new benefit association for a well known brand. For example, assume Bruce Springsteen and his classic songs “Born in the USA� and “Born to Run� were jointly used to promote the “American heritage� and “Patriotic appeal� of New Balance athletic shoes, a Massachusetts-based company that still manufactures in its local area. A number of different scenarios characterize how consumers might process such an ad:

1. Some consumers may barely notice the ads so that the amount of processing devoted to the ads is extremely low, resulting in weak to nonexistent brand associations.

2. The ads may catch the attention of other consumers, resulting in sufficient processing but these consumers may devote most of the time during the ads thinking about the song and wondering why Springsteen decided to endorse New Balance (and whether he actually wore them), resulting in strong associations to Springsteen, but not to New Balance.

3. Another group of consumers may not only notice the ads but may think how they a wrong impression of New Balance and that it is “different� from the way they thought and that they would feel good about wearing the shoe. The endorsement by Springsteen in this case helped to transfer and create positive association.

In addition to congruency or consistency with existing knowledge, the ease with which new information can be integrated into established knowledge structures clearly depends on the nature of that information, in terms of characteristics such as simplicity, vividness, and concreteness.

Repeated exposures to information provide greater opportunity for processing and thus the potential for stronger associations. Recent advertising research in a field setting , however suggests that qualitative considerations and the manner or style of consumer processing engendered by an ad are generally more important than the cumulative total of ad exposures.

In other words high levels of repetition for an un-involving, unpersuasive ad is unlikely to have as much sales impact as lower levels of repetition for an involving persuasive ad.

Memory Processes: Retrieval

Memory retrieval refers to how information gets out of memory. According to the associative network memory model, the strength of a brand association increases both the likelihood that that information will be accessible and the ease with which it can be recalled by “spreading activation�. Successful recall of brand information by consumers does not depend only on the initial strength of that information in memory. Three factors are particularly important,

First, the presence of other product information in memory can produce interference effects. It may cause the information to be either overlooked or confused. One challenge in category crowded with many competitors for example, airlines, financial services, and insurance companies is that consumers may mix up brands.

Second, the time since exposure to information at encoding affects the strength of a new association the longer the time delay, the weaker the association. The time elapsed since the last exposure opportunity however has been shown generally to produce only gradual decay. Cognitive psychologists believe that memory is extremely durable, so that once information becomes stored in the memory, its strength of association decays very slowly.

Third, information may be “available� in memory (i.e. potentially recallable) but may not be “accessible� (i.e. unable to be recalled) without the proper retrieval cues or reminders. The particular associations for a brand that “come to mind� depend on the context in which the brand is considered. The more cues linked to a piece of information, however, the greater the likelihood that the information can be recalled. The effectiveness of retrieval cues is one reason why marketing inside a super market or any retail store is so critical in terms of the actual product packaging, the use of in-store mini-billboard displays, and so on. The information they contain and the reminders they provide of advertising or other information already conveyed outside the store will be prominent determinants of consumer decision making.

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