Try, Try Again

How and when we and our customers learn about our brands.

Diana Lillicrap 1.18.2020


Like many families, my kids are learning via a distance model this year. As frustrating as it’s been for them (and me), it’s been a good reminder of when and how learning actually occurs.

When learning happens

There’s a reason I didn’t become a teacher. I’m not patient. I unrealistically expect that when I tell someone something, they will remember it. But that’s not how our brains work. According to Scientific American, “learning and memory require the coupling of information from different regions of the brain.” In other words, we generally can’t just hear something and remember it forever. We need to pair our learning with multiple points of input, such as feel, smell, emotional experiences, and so forth. That’s why taking notes while hearing something helps. You are giving your brain a verbal, visual, and sensory path to the information. It’s also why failing at something results in more learning, especially when you have to do something over or try again. You create multiple paths to the information with multiple experiences.

What’s this mean for branding?

There are two key takeaways from this that are applicable to brand building.

First, building brand awareness and understanding takes multiple touchpoints with your customers. Making sure those touchpoints have different means to connect your brand to your customer’s brain is key. Textures, sounds, words, feelings, smells, and more all go into creating memorable experiences between your brand and your customer. Successful brands try lots of ways to create meaning and then link the elements together to build mental staying power.

Second, as marketers, we learn the most about what we are doing when we try something, fail, and then apply that knowledge to the next attempt. Multiple experiences build our understanding about our market, our customers, and our own brands. And when we layer those experiences—the successful and the unsuccessful—we get to a better outcome and stronger results for our brand.

So, don’t be afraid to try, and even fail. The smartest brands are those that learn by trying and then couple together multiple brand experiences to create real connections in customers’ minds.

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