If you haven’t already, please read Parts I and II of Completing the Picture before joining us here for Part III.
In the second half of his book, Kahneman tells a story about someone who listens to a recording of a long, beautiful symphony that is interrupted at the end by loud scratches on the cd. “The experience was ruined!” the listener exclaims. But, as Kahneman points out, ninety-five percent of the experience was not ruined, for the listener experienced many minutes of blissful music before the scratches—it was only the memory of the symphony that was ruined.
The story is used to illustrate the idea that we all have two selves: the first is our Experiencer Self, who lives in the moment, in the continuous flow of time. The second is our Remembered Self, who composes stories out of the significant events and moments in our lives and keeps them for future reference in decision-making.
A key difference between the two is how each of our selves experiences time. For the Experiencer Self, time is linear, like that measured by the clock, where each moment is of equal weight or significance. For the Remembered Self, time is nonlinear, duration is not important and two types of moments carry more weight than others—(1) peak moments of emotionally charged, meaningful experience and (2) endings, or how things turned out. These two types of moments, after all, are the keys to good storytelling.
In the end, it is the Remembered Self that is the decider. It keeps score and governs what we learn from living. We choose by memory, not experience, when we decide to repeat an experience.
For marketers, it is important to appeal to both selves. For the past few years our industry has been tightly focused on the idea of engagement. A lot of the new ad research methods, for example, have been developed to measure how the Experiencer Self engages with advertising in real time.
Counterbalancing this is the need to understand the mysterious process by which advertising experiences get converted into branded memories. For brands reside in the Remembered Self.
For more information or to receive a copy of the entire white paper, please contact Sonya Duran (firstname.lastname@example.org).