What is Short-term, Long-term and Brand Memory?


The human mind is incredible. Our brains are our most complex body part. Everyday our brain has to accomplish a million different functions including building and recalling from our memory. Isn’t it amazing how many things we can remember… and forget! To think we only use 10% of our brains. Imagine if we could access the other 90% we could be super human.

How Our Memories Work

As you may know our brains have short-term and long-term memories. Each functions from a different part of the brain. When you are dialing a phone number your brain has to store information into its short-term memory. This causes regions of your pre-frontal lobe to become very active. This is very front of your brain where your forehead is. We keep our pre-frontal lobe active during most of the day as we work on accomplishing everyday tasks.

Information is transferred from the short-term memory to the long-term memory via the hippocampus, which is found in the temporal lobe. This is when your brain starts to encode and sort the information. Then the brain works on recalling the memory.

Watch this fun video on how our memories work.

Our memory is much more complex than can be explained here. However, in this post lets explore repetition. After all, this is what we use promotional items for in our businesses. The idea is to choose memorable gifts and that each time they are used or seen the receiver can recall a memory about our business.

When something is repeatedly in front of us it is continuously entering our short-term memory. The more that happens the stronger the memory gets in the long-term.

Brand Memory

Our associations with specific brands are stored in our long-term memory. When we are shopping for product or services we tend to make several decisions with in seconds based on a brand. So, if it’s a brand that we can easily recall then there is a higher chance that we would choose that brand. Building a brand memory is not only done by repetition. The more you mix it up the easier the memory will be recalled. You can increase brand recognition in many ways such as providing good customer service, adding value to your name with strong impressions and displaying your brand across several mediums.

Do you find that you remember information better if you repeat it? What ways can you come up to access your clients short-term memory enough to have them commit that information to long-term memory? How can you use custom logo gifts to increase your brand identity?

32 thoughts on “What is Short-term, Long-term and Brand Memory?

  1. I always had such a good memory until I had Encephalitis in my early 30’s. I couldn’t remember a phone number unless I wrote it down. I couldn’t keep track of what my 2 young children were doing; just one at a time. Couldn’t follow plots of tv or movies. I have gradually improved but not to where I once was. It made me very aware of the different types of memory.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…Why Women Don’t BuyMy Profile

  2. Really thought provoking post Arleen. My background is in marketing so I can certainly appreciate the value of repeating your message, but I also believe you made a good point about mixing up the way we deliver that message because not all people process information in the same way. For example I am a very visual person, but I will opt to read an article rather than watch a video or listen to a podcast. It’s a fascinating and complex issue. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Marquita Herald recently posted…How to Protect Yourself From Chronic ComplainersMy Profile

  3. I just recently watched the movie Lucy which brings to mind what we would really be like if we could access a larger percentage of our brain. Memories are interesting because we all form memories differently even when experiencing the same brand or event. I once had a professor who had us write about our first memory. She had been collecting first memory writings for years in order to see commonalities.
    Jeri recently posted…#PubTip: 5 Reasons to Crowdfund Your Next BookMy Profile

    • Jeri- Haven’t seen the movie yet. I was told that doing agility with my dog is using a part of the brain that we do not use all the time. You have 8 minutes to memorize a course of 20 obstacles. You might have to wait for 2-3 hours to run the course and make sure you not only remember the course but give the proper instructions to your dog while running the course. Our brains are fascinating what it can do.
      Arleen recently posted…What is Short-term, Long-term and Brand Memory?My Profile

  4. Hi Arleen, neat approach. I never would have thought of promotion and long-term memory going together but you make it a natural process, which it really is. When you do get a product, especially one that appeals, you think of that business every time. Interesting.
    Lenie recently posted…GMO – A Follow-UpMy Profile

  5. What this brings to mind right off the bat is a Realtor in our neighborhood with a catch slogan. This guy has his face and slogan on everything… In the grocery store on the little sticks that divide the orders, on tablets on your front step, on signs, on cars, you get my point. Have I ever bought or sold a house with him, no. Would he be the first brand that comes to mind if I needed to… You betcha.
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  6. Interesting post about memory and branding. I know there is a theory about our ancestors memory. It has long been known that the human race had technology, but failed to develop at a fast speed. The reasoning might be they had a short term memory, they knew how to make tools, but then forgot where they were. So they had to repeat the process of creating tools over and over again.
    As for brands, I do remember specific brands when I go shopping, but also cost is very important too.
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  7. I think brand memory can work both ways. You can also come up with brand associations based on bad experiences. For example, I was trying to call Comcast a couple weeks ago and every time the auto-attendant system was supposed to transfer me to a live person, it disconnected the line. And it repeated about 5 times. So guess what I associate with Comcast customer service?

  8. I would love to be able to use all 100% however the notion is a little scary as I am not sure what I would get up to. As for brands, so many fall into the unknown and forgotten simply because of budget. You have to be really creative to make it stick if you are a small player.
    Tim recently posted…ApartheidMy Profile

  9. Hello Arleen

    This post reminds me about a post that I have written for my students about short term memory and long term memory.

    I told them how they can recall the information and shift it into long term memory. Our minds are truly amazing.

    For brands, I think, good experience and quality of the brands shift the information in long term memory and while buying any product, great experience with any brand can help increase likelihood.
    I too have seen that people are also drawn by the surprises, may be they buy the brand to have a look, what surprise they will get. I think my daughter is very influenced by this thing and when ever I will try to buy something for her, she will take me to place where she got a surprise gift.
    This is how things work for my daughter.
    andleeb recently posted…Rainbow : #Childhood Memories.My Profile

    • Andleeb- Even at a young age your daughter is reacting to the surprise. That surprise is instilled in her memory. What a better way to sell a brand than through our children? If as parents we forget the child is right there to remind them as they have a great knack of remembering want they and forgetting what they don’t want.
      Arleen recently posted…What is Short-term, Long-term and Brand Memory?My Profile

  10. I’m not sure I understand the connection of a type of , “brand” with a person’s short term memory. As you stated, memory and how we store memories is complex. All information passes through short term memory, but nothing is stored in short term memory; information only remains there or a few seconds.
    However, I think the idea of manipulating your brand so people have multiple associations with your product is a great idea. For example, how they feel about your product, and the different senses your product relates. An example is McDonalds, their brand appeals to the people’s feelings, (happy families) and to their senses of taste and smell. The more types of associations the stronger the memory.
    I’m sure I completely missed your point Arleen, I’m sorry. 🙂
    Pamela Chollet recently posted…PERSONALITY QUIZ: Are you Anxious or Relaxed?My Profile

  11. Arleen — loved the video. Repetition is the key — that’s why advertisers repeat their ads until they become memorable. Research shows that playing games like bridge and chess improve memory and keep your brain sharp. I play bridge every week because I enjoy it but also because I know it requires me to think and keep track of the cards played and their sequence. It’s almost like a war game where you need to be planning your moves three steps ahead. The American Contract Bridge League partners with the Alzheimer’s Association and sponsors charity games for their benefit.
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