An ecosystem is a good model because it treats memory as something that lives in the mind. For those interested in learning how advertising works to create branded memories, it sets a new kind of agenda for asking research questions, particularly for researchers in the new area of marketing neuroscience.
Is “ecosystem of memory” only a metaphor or is it a useful model? Let’s take a look. The following attributes are characteristics both of living things and of memories:
Brand Memories Are Born: How does the introduction of a new idea for a product or service create new living space in an already established category of brand thoughts?
They Feed: Brand memories are nourished by experience, by advertising of many media types and by other psychic nutrients. How does a given diet of nutrients affect the health of a brand memory?
They Grow: Do brand memories grow like nodes in a network? Or like the growth rings of a tree? Is it biologically possible to estimate the age of different branded memories?
They Replicate: Brand memories spread from brain to brain like a virus, from contact with human carriers thru word-of-mouth, through communal storytelling in television, print and social media. How do brand memories mutate in the retelling of them?
They Compete: Memory is a limited resource in the brain. In the struggle for survival, for psychic nutrients, the stronger ad defeats the weaker not only in its fight for attention, but also (as we will show) in its ability to actually erase the short term memories laid by the weaker competitor. What happens in the mind when two brand memories compete for the same niche?
They Die: Do brand memories die out only when the last consumer remembering them dies off or do they die sooner when starved for psychic nutrients? The study of memory formation is yin and yang with the study of the process of forgetting.
Or They Live On In A Complex, Interconnected Environment: How do the memories of one brand interact with other brands to form families and tribes of larger memory communities?
By changing the frame of reference for models of memory from marketing and psychology to other fields of science, such as biology and ecology, it may be possible to identify new, but proven, techniques and approaches to exploring the world of branded memory.