In 2009, the Dropbox team uploaded a video explaining their product. Before that, no one even considered the need to access your computer files outside your own home. The concept was so new that it was almost impossible to explain.
Yet, in a simple video, Dropbox explained its product and made it such an obvious solution to a problem no one realized they had. Of course you need access to your files on any of your devices whenever you wanted. Why hadn't we thought of this before.
How did Dropbox manage to convince us not only of the solution, but of the problem itself? The answer to that lies in the two types of memory that are engaged when we present a new branding message: working memory and long-term memory.
An understanding of each type and how they work together will increase your marketing effectiveness - particularly with videos. If we want people to take action based on a video, it's essential to know how people understand and interpret information.
Working memory is the "workbench" of the memory system. It's where we process the information directly in front of us. It has a very short duration and is focused solely on the information being worked on in the moment. This is also where new information is associated with prior knowledge.
At the "workbench," meaningful connections are made so new information can be stored in the long-term memory.
Long-term memory, on the other hand, is the "warehouse" - the place for memories that are well-learned. There are two different types of long-term memory: explicit and implicit. Explicit memory involves conscious effort to elaborate by making meaningful connections between the new, incoming information and the prior knowledge stored in long-term memory.
Implicit memory is unconscious: We may not remember how the knowledge got there, but it influences the way we think and behave.
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Relationships between the new idea and old knowledge become new memories, which are integrated with the prior understanding and sent off to long-term storage. Sometimes, this process of relationship connecting is explicit. We intentionally pull the information together and try to connect the dots. Think about the history teacher who is trying to connect the War of 1812 to the average teenager's daily existence.
Other connections are made outside of our deliberate effort. We aren't trying to understand or find the relationship between information, but it happens anyway. These reactions are particularly valuable to understand when you want customers to respond to your video.
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To Establish Your Brand
The Dropbox video nailed this. They used simple graphics that did not overload the working memory. This made the relationship between the new concept (cloud-based storage) and the old concept (forgotten wallets and keys) much easier to understand.
By connecting these two things, Dropbox made clear a concept that was previously outside the realm of our interests or understanding.
Brands can use this understanding of working and long-term memory to mimic Dropbox's success. Any communication can be leveraged to make relationships click in the audience's head. Clear graphics, metaphors, and simple language make it easy to connect the information you present to the working memory with knowledge previously held in the long-term memory.
Do it well, and customers' "a-ha!" moments will reap huge rewards for your company.
Bio: Andrew Angus is an author, speaker, and founder/CEO of Switch Video, a video animation company that produces simple videos that "explain what you do" in an engaging and compelling format. Andrew is a thought leader in the online video industry, writing and speaking about the brain science behind making your company's story stick. He welcomes people to reach out to him on Twitter or Google+ and can be booked to speak on Speakerfile.