Why You Should Repeat Yourself, A Lot
If you’re part of a management team, repeating yourself is a key to success.
When I worked in online advertising, we measured the performance of marketing campaigns in a particular way called aided and unaided recall.
Imagine I send you a survey with two questions:
- List the names of all the venture firms you’re aware of.
- Review this list of venture firm logos. Which ones do you know?
The first question is an example of unaided recall and the second is aided recall. A quantitative brand marketer for Redpoint might send this survey before and after a campaign to measure the impact of the campaign. Great brands score very highly on unaided recall.
The typical audience increases its unaided recall to a brand after roughly 7 impressions .
When selling a company, a product, or an idea to customers, employees, investors, candidates, repeating a consistent message several times embosses the message upon the individual’s memory. It establishes clarity: Redpoint is a leading venture capital firm.
Great leaders coalesce their messaging around memorable, oft-repeated words. At Looker, Frank, the CEO, declared the Year of the Hound when the company’s strategic priority shifted from one buyer persona to another. Within the company, at board meetings, at our user conference, Frank and the Looker team talked about the year of the hound. All those brand impressions focused the company toward a single goal.
That’s one example of using this principle to align a team. But it works just as well externally. Content marketing, brand advertising, videos, events, sales pitches, all hands, candidate interviews. All of these are opportunities for the next brand/message impression to reinforce aided/unaided recall.
Repeating yourself improves brand recall. A simple message reiterated again and again is a powerful thing.
 In practice, the number varies quite a bit. Researchers have modelled different patterns and Google employs dynamic frequency capping, which limits impressions, to maximize yield.