Advertising research: From engagement to branded memory

Charles Young

Consumers choose by memory, not experience, so advertisers must balance engagement with how ads convert into branded memories and there are new techniques to help them on that journey.

Most of us are familiar with the standard ad quality metrics for predicting sales using recall and persuasion, attention and brand linkage, message communication and brand preference. However, there is now a whole host of competing techniques measuring brain waves, brain image scans, facial response, eye-tracking, heart rate and skin conductance, response latency, etc., that claim to reveal how advertising exerts its hidden power on the unconscious mind.

In his book Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman presents psychological concepts that stretch how we think about advertising's role in economic decision-making. Kahneman describes differences between two systems the mind uses to process information and make decisions. He then explains differences between experience and our memory of an experience – an important insight to understand how advertising experiences are turned into branded memories.