Flashbulb memory

A flashbulb memory is a historical memory that is vastly detailed and vivid that has a direct relationship as to how one learnt about a dramatic event. Yes, it’s all about ‘how you were informed or how you learnt about a dramatic event’ in the past; therefore it indeed is an autobiographical memory.

As per the research finding in social psychology, the key reasons for flashbulb memories to be highly remembered over the other ordinary autobiographical memories are their impact towards our emotional arousals and personal relevance. So it has been concluded that other general autobiographical memories also will be vastly vivid and greatly memorable over time, if they bear a significant personal relevance and emotional arousal.

For example, can you remember the moment that you learnt about your first job acceptance? Or to be more general, can you recall how you learnt about the death of the princess, Diana? If so, where were you, what were you doing and how did you learn about such news?  For most of us, we can vividly remember learning about such events of great importance to our life as a result of the flashbulb memory. So basically, we tend to remember a few key things about such events of great importance.

  • How did we learn such news/ who broke the news?
  • Where were we and what were we doing as it was learnt? 
  • How did the news affect us?
  • How did others act?
  • How important was learning the news?

As a matter of fact, our opinions on things are changed by the flashbulb memory. For example, thousands of people who loved Princess Diana never looked at the Royal family the same way after her death. Now, here’s a totally different use of flashbulb memory! What if I tell you that flashbulb memory can be linked with marketing?  Yes, digital marketers have found a way to use the phenomenon of the flashbulb memory to leave a good impression of their brands in the minds of customers to influence consumer behavior towards the Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). It’s absolutely important to know that creating a flashbulb memory for a brand can be only done once, yet its impact can be used over and over in marketing campaigns towards Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). On the marketing point of view, the triggering factor to evoke flashbulb memory is that who introduced an innovative product or service for the very first time in the market.

How the world famous brands used the impact of flash bulb memory towards Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Which online payment service comes to your mind right away?

PayPal it is! PayPal was initially established in 1998 as a money transfer service used by handheld devices. It was a whole new experience and people were mesmerized by the convenience PayPal brought in e-money handling. Even though there are a few well established online payment services out there such as Payoneer, Xoom, Alipay, Apple wallet, Google wallet etc., still PayPal comes to our mind first of everything when thinking about online payments.  

Which online book store comes to your mind right away?

It is Amazon, isn’t it? Amazon is the world’s first online book store and it was indeed a great opportunity for millions of people worldwide to order books online. Even though there are famous online bookstores out there such as Book Depository, Barnes & Noble etc., still it’s Amazon that comes to our mind first when thinking about online book shopping. Well, this is the power of Flashbulb memory in marketing. We can remember who introduced us to great products for the first time. As a result, we give such brands the precedence over other brands because the fact that they were the oldest in the business enhances brand’s authenticity.

How to establish your brand to evoke flashbulb memory?

The key is to differentiate your brand well in the competition. It would be a great help if you can introduce a novelty to your target audience. If you find it difficult or unachievable in the near future, still you can get help from flashbulb memory by introducing an innovative feature to an existing product or a service. Once done, launch promotions highlighting that it was you who introduced such an innovation to the market. Even though it's highly likely that your competitors may follow you eventually, the fact that it was you who were in the game first can boost conversions a great deal.  And indeed, it is not a one-time benefit. As long as you launch marketing campaigns reminding your target audience about such innovations, you can reap the benefits of the flashbulb memory towards Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

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References

The references contain experiments and studies that prove this bias is there.

1. Flashbulb memories
2. The formation of flashbulb memories

Books

Would you like to go more in-depth? Here are our recommendations:

Flashbulb Memories (Essays in Cognitive Psychology) by Martin Conway Buy this book

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