Oscar Wilde said, “Memory is the diary that we carry around with us.”

So why, on one hand, is it that we can easily remember things from years (or decades!) ago, such as our childhood best friend’s phone number, a classmate’s birthday or jingles from old commercials—(you know the ones, so sing along) Coca Cola’s I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing, I Want To Be A Toy’s R Us Kid and The Best Part Of Waking Up Is Folgers In Your Cup. Yet on the other hand, we can’t remember the lead story on last night’s news broadcast, the names of people we just met at a party or the piece of trivia we just looked up on Wikipedia?

Some people blame it on the so-called “normal” aging process. Maybe age does play a role. Or, maybe it doesn’t.

In the article “Your Memory Sucks: The Science Of Remembering In The Internet Age,” author Lindsay Kolowich reports on how the reliance on the internet and less on our own memory isn’t just changing our lifestyles, it’s actually changing the structure of our brains.

In fact, the study “Google Effects On Memory: Cognitive Consequences Of Having Information At Our Fingertips” found that people who have access to search engines tend to remember fewer facts and less information overall because they know the answers can easily be found online.

“When faced with a question we don’t know the answer to, we’ve conditioned ourselves not to recall the information itself, and not to stretch our memories to figure out the answer—but instead to remember how to find the answer using a search engine,” Kolowich says.

In a sense, we have outsourced memory to technology and the internet. The way we take in new info has changed. Attention spans are shorter. Much shorter. Because we’re exposed to such massive amounts of information on a daily basis, our minds have adapted to become more efficient about what converts to long-term memories.

“When the amount of information entering our working memory exceeds our ability to process and store it, we have trouble retaining that information in our long-term memory or drawing connections with other memories,” says Kolowich. “So while we still remember things, we remember different types of things.”

With that in mind, how can learning processes be improved so information is consciously committed to memory? And how can we, as marketers, tap into this knowledge to improve brand recall?

It all goes back to repetition.

Kolowich explains:

“Repetition is one way to remember things more easily. When you do or read something once, a neurological pathway is created in your brain. When you repeat that action and experience the same reward again, that neurological pathway gets a little bit thicker; and the next time, even thicker. The thicker that pathway gets, the more implicit recalling it becomes. That’s why re-reading important articles, for instance, can be a helpful way to process and store the information in them.”

Think back to how you learned information in school. Reading a textbook. Listening to a lecture. Taking notes. Reviewing (and re-reviewing) these notes. Using flashcards. Taking online sample exams. Attending study groups. All of these activities are centered around repetition—and it works.

So what does this science mean to marketers? With all the distractions, interruptions and information overload our audiences face on a daily basis, how can we break through the clutter so customers and prospects not only notice us but also remember us in the future? Promotional products.

Whether you call it branded merchandise, promotional products or swag, logoed items have the power to keep your brand in front of customers and prospects like no other advertising medium can. Why? Because people love promotional products—so much, in fact, that 58% keep them from one to four years according to research from Promotional Products Association International.

And not only are promotional products kept, they’re used too. The PPAI study found that 73% use logoed gifts at least one a week, and 45% use them at least once per day. No other advertising medium puts your brand in your customers’ hands—literally—more often.

With all this repeat exposure (and those neurological pathway being strengthened as a result), it’s no wonder that 85% of recipients of promotional products can identify the advertisers on the promotional items they owned, according to the Advertising Specialty Institute’s 2014 Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study.

And that’s what you want, right? Your target audience remembering who you are. Being top of mind. So that when it’s time to make a purchase, they think of you first because they’ve seen your logo day in and day out in their homes and offices.

It is possible to overcome google amnesia and train your customers and prospects to remember you. And promotional products are the means to making it happen.

We can help get your brand noticed despite forgetful customers. Book an appointment by clicking here or call us now at 248-538-4700 to learn how. Mention the blog, and we’ll send you some SMART Swag to as a reminder!