We all know the jingles and phrases that get stuck in our heads for days after hearing them. Anyone remember that narwhale commercial from Sprint a few years ago? Here’s a reminder if you missed it; you’re welcome.

Many brands are still resorting to “earworm” tactics in an effort to give their message staying power. But how often do you remember the point, or call to action? I spent at least five minutes searching for “the narwhale ad” before I sat down to put this together. I had no memory of who or what the ad was actually for.

In a world overrun with images and video, being just catchy isn’t enough. Going “viral” isn’t necessarily going to engage your audience. According to a Forbes article about how to engage with your listeners while publicly speaking, “we remember things according to how important they are to us. In fact, a recent study found that people remember three times as much information if they perceive that it is related closely to them than if they don’t.” That statistic bleeds into everyday life and should make us as marketers rethink the campaigns we suggest to our clients.

Essentially, if you can’t make your target audience care about what you’re selling, then the message won’t stick, and more importantly in this age of interconnectivity, they won’t engage with the brand. Just because consumers know a brand name, doesn’t mean they’ll purchase or be loyal. As marketers, we have to lead our clients not to think “what’s in it for me”, but “what’s in it for my audience”. Figure out the audience’s perspective and why they care, and you’ll be able to deliver a message that will drive action…

Not a blonde woman walking around Target singing about narwhales.

-Renee, rharvey@quixotegroup.com

See the original Forbes article here.