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It’s not enough to have a great product or service – you need that product or service to be memorable and stand out in the prospect’s mind when it comes time to buy.

If you’re at a marketing conference, meeting new potential joint venture partners, how do you stand apart from the rest of the crowd, so that they’ll remember you after they get home?

And for that matter, what makes an idea, product, event, or person memorable?

For something to be truly memorable, it needs two things:

It needs to be intellectually confounding or challenging in a way that catches your prospect’s attention.

And it has to target emotions on a very extreme level. Happy, surprised, sad, it’s got to be some level of emotion that is triggered in your prospect.

Both of these must happen at the same time, and the higher the intellectual challenge AND the more elevated the emotion, the more memorable your product becomes.

Do you remember losing your virginity? Why is it that this event is so memorable?

First, you received new intellectual content – your life was never going to be the same; you experienced something brand new to you; things were going to change and you felt a lot of emotions, too.

It was a unique concept for you.

Do you remember 9-11? It was a unique concept, in that it had never been done before. Someone took a plane and flew it into the side of a building in downtown Manhattan. It was so astounding and jarring intellectually; we even questioned if what we were seeing was real. And then came the extremely high emotions of anger, sadness, fear, depression, and so on.

Let’s contrast this with something that isn’t memorable. You go online, and you read an interesting article. You’re engrossed in it because it’s so fascinating. But there is no emotion involved, and so what happens? In a few days, you forget all about it. It’s like it never happened, you never read the article, and you never got the information because it is gone from your memory. It didn’t stick.

Or you see a commercial on television asking for money for starving children. It makes you so sad and hurt; you want to cry. But there is no intellectual stimulation, and an hour later you’ve forgotten all about it.

When you can get something to register as highly as possible on both scales – intellectual and emotional – at the same time, it will make the difference between whether something is memorable or not memorable.

Let’s use movies as examples of what makes something memorable. In the 70’s we had Jaws, a shark that hunts people. Most of us like water, and we like to swim. The thought of a shark hunting us in the water was a new idea for most of us, and we never looked at water the same way again. And then there is the emotion, the high stress, high anxiety, suspense and fear throughout the movie, along with the triumph and relief of the shark being killed at the end of the movie. If you saw Jaws in a movie theater, odds are you never forgot it, even though that was over 40 years ago.

In the ’80s the highest-grossing film was E.T. There are aliens that come to earth (a new intellectual concept for most people at the time), and there is one in the shed, but he’s quite lovely. We start out feeling fear and stress and wind up getting emotionally attached to this little guy and rooting for him to be able to go back home. It’s a new idea coupled with strong emotions, and we never forget the movie.

In the 90’s we had Titanic – a movie filled with love, stress, and the intellectual challenge that the hero and heroine would not wind up together (unlike nearly all other love stories.)

If you look at singers, in the 70’s we had Elton John, an openly gay man whose music was embraced by nearly everyone (unheard of at the time.) in the 80’s we had Prince, who dressed strangely, wore tons of makeup and married beautiful women. In the 90’s we had Madonna, who evoked a variety of strong emotions and continually startled us with her latest incarnation. And then in the 2000s, we had Eminem; a white rapper named after a candy – who could forget that?

But what about products and companies? Look at Tom’s Shoes, the company that pledged to give a pair of shoes to an underprivileged person for every pair of shoes sold. They got so much free publicity; they never needed to advertise. It was a brand-new idea. And coupled with the emotion of feeling good because a child in a third world country was wearing shoes because YOU bought shoes for yourself was a total winning combination.

How do we use this information to make our products memorable?

I decided to take three generic products that might be promoted by any online marketer – weight loss, make money online, and dating – and come up with ideas on how to make them memorable.

Mind you; this is just the result of a few minutes of brainstorming. You’ll want to do your brainstorming when it comes to your products, but one thing is for sure: If you can build memorability into your product as you’re creating it, rather than try to add it later, you’ll be far ahead of the game.

Here’s what I came up with, allocating just 5 minutes to each general product:

Weight loss

Emotions: Painting a picture of the prospect at the end of their shortened life and all the things they missed out on because they were too out of shape and too embarrassed to take part.

The emotion of never having seen their grandchildren because they died too young (or great-grandchildren). Being forgotten, or worse yet, being remembered as being HUGE and never leaving the recliner.

Positive emotions – losing the weight and being hailed as a conquering hero and inspiration for others. Living their very best life ever because they were fit and trim and able to do all the things on their bucket list and more. (Weight loss is a great one for evoking emotions.)

Intellectually confounding – this is where you want to be contrary. If every other weight loss guru says to exercise like crazy, you say the opposite. If they say to starve or eat a restrictive diet, you say the opposite. Okay, these ideas probably worked 20 years ago, but nowadays I’m not sure it’s enough. Turning it up a notch.…

How about if you could use psychology to flip a switch in their brain that MADE them CRAVE healthy food and exercise? Yes! If they could bypass the feeling of deprivation of their favorite foods and the feelings of hating exercise, and suddenly be REPULSED by chocolate cake and in LOVE with broccoli and moving their body now, I think you’ve got something!

Make money online

Emotions – of course, you can paint pictures of all the cars and houses and vacations a person can have. Everybody does that, so forget about it. But what if you paint a picture of them being HEROES using 25% of the millions they make to do something AWESOME for others or a cause? Now you’re taking the selfish out of making money and adding in the secret sauce of feeling amazing and powerful because now they can help others and be treated like a hero for it.

Intellectually confounding – I’d go with opposites here, too. It takes money to make money? No! Is your home an asset? No! Is saving the way to get rich? No! Investing in stocks and mutual funds and diversifying is smart? No!

Tear down all the usual advice that people get, because frankly, it’s all outdated anyway. Let them know that the people who are rich don’t do most of the things that they tell the middle class to do, and you’re going to show them what they do instead. Be contrary and back it with facts.


Emotions – Do you want to die alone? 99% of people say they want to have a significant other to be their mate for life, so hitting on the emotions that come when you think about ALWAYS being alone is pretty powerful.

Contrast those emotions with what it’s like to FALL IN LOVE. Paint word pictures and use photos, too, to depict the sharp contrast of these two.

Or use a real-life love story of two famous people, and have your prospect imagine they get to experience something just as magical.

What if a change in mindset made all the difference? No, they don’t need lots of money, a cool car, fashionable clothes and so forth. They simply need to change their mindset so that the way they are RIGHT NOW will attract dates.

Again, it’s flipping a switch in the brain – maybe I’m getting redundant here, but when everyone else is telling them to be different, change the way they look, act differently and so forth, and you’re just saying no, all you need to do is change how you THINK… that seems pretty intellectually confounding to me, and I want to know more.

Okay, all of that was based on just a few minutes of brainstorming. Frankly, I think all three could use improvement, but I’ll leave that up to you. This exercise was to get you moving in the right direction, and now the rest is up to you.

Be memorable. Make your products memorable. Stand apart from the crowd and create your path and even your niche. After all, if you’re the only one in the niche you’ve created, you will not only be memorable, but you will have zero competition, too.