3 ways you can bank on emotions to drive memorability of ads

Emotions are an integral part of creating impactful content and can drive long term memory of the content and brand.

The use of intimate personal narratives - stories with one to two main protagonists or content that is personally relevant to the viewer - can make brand stories more memorable, said a study by BBC StoryWorks, the content marketing division of BBC Global News.

Here are three ways brands can bank on emotions to make their ads more memorable:

  1. Emotions are a key driver of memory :
  • Research demonstrated that, if you’re watching a brand film, the bigger the emotional spike, the more likely it is to trigger long term memory.
  • When it comes to triggering long term memory, there is no such thing as a bad emotion. The study by BBC shows us that the influential factor is the intensity of the emotion being experienced, not the nature of the emotion being experienced, that ensures long-term memory encoding.
  1. We can fine-tune emotions to maximise and "colour" memory:
  • There are certain strategies to employ emotional spikes and make content more memorable. Emotions colour memory and the emotions experienced when consuming content, are encoded into long-term memory. Hence, stimulating and engaging audiences with storytelling that delivers truly emotional engagement leads to really powerful outcomes for brands.
  • Set the emotional stakes early - brand films that triggered their highest emotional intensity in the first third of their duration ultimately delivered stronger memory of the content overall.
  • With emotional peaks, quantity is important: Research has shown that content that provokes numerous peaks of emotional intensity throughout, rather than slow building to a singular event, delivers a higher memory impact.
  1. Brands can "ride" memory moments:
  • Emotion often precedes memory. A sudden spike in emotional intensity causes memory encoding to rise shortly afterwards. Seamlessly integrating a brand in the memory window after moments of high emotional intensity allows the brand to ride the wave of the narrative into memory.