Winning at the ‘when’

As a business owner, it’s easy to become obsessed with the ‘what’ when it comes to talking about your brand and the kind of work you do. But have you ever truly considered the importance of the ‘when’ when it comes to your next travel campaign?

From a consumer perspective the ‘when’ is potentially the most powerful piece of your marketing and content puzzle.

Sure, we’re all passionate about our own brand and like to invest in the idea that our offering truly means something to our audience.

The harsh reality of course is that like many other things in life, effective brand awareness and recall might simply come down to a game of timing. Being seen and heard in the right place. At the exact same moment your customer is in a responsive headspace to react – and indeed act – on the idea you’re presenting them with.

There is a reason fast food adverts run while you’re busy trying to throw dinner together and just can’t be bothered after working all day. Or why engagement ring commercials keep popping up while you’re guilty indulging in an episode of The Bachelor.

Perhaps a better example is the latest meme or simple gif you’re obsessed with right now. Timing. The when. Being able to tap into public sentiment or the greater consciousness when it’s actually relevant, (be it about a current political gaff or pop-culture moment in time). The goal is to spark a connection that not only motivates your customer to act in the ‘now’, but potentially help build powerful new neural pathways in the brain to assist with future brand recall. Powerful stuff!

At the end of the day, timing is not about luck or magic – it’s actually science. Much-lauded marketing science professor, Byron Sharp, often talks about the twinned concepts of mental availability and category entry points.

He believes that a brand’s mental availability refers to the probability that a buyer will notice, recognise or think of a brand in various moods, situations or even locations. Based on this theory, our response to a piece of brand content or messaging is highly dependent on the quality and quantity of memory structures related to the brand.

So as business owners and marketers, we might want to know ‘what do people think of our brand?’ But perhaps a more pertinent question to ask is, “On what occasion or moment in their lives could our brand come to life for consumers?” It’s the moments or ‘category entry points’ that truly matter, and the more of them your brand links too, and the more ‘mental availability’ you have increases your chances to sell or get your message across.

In the post-pandemic future ‘reading the room’ and knowing when the right time to drop something into market to best leverage the memory structures we’ve worked hard to build for our brands will count more than ever.

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