Reflecting on making magnetic memories

(Top) The Montezuma Castle, a former railroad-era luxury hotel that is now the centerpiece of the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West (UWC-USA). (Bottom) The church in Uppertown and the painted landmark on the road to Montezuma © Carrie Osgood | CLO Communications

My recent journey down memory lane reminded me why being distinctive and consistent is essential when crafting creative communications that resonate with target audiences.

I was born and raised in Las Vegas, New Mexico, the largest town on the eastern slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains that’s an hour’s drive from Santa Fe. My hometown is a pretty eclectic place for its small size of 14,000 residents. It has two primary town centers with coinciding rival school districts. West Las Vegas includes the Old Town Plaza (as featured in such movies as Easy Rider and No Country for Old Men), while east Las Vegas was a major stop along the Victorian-era cross-continental railroad (as featured in the original Red Dawn film). It’s home to a university, community college and international high school, and it has over 900 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

My family moved away the day before I started the sixth grade, so it often shocks me at how strongly my memory responds whenever I make a special trip back. As soon as I arrive, I feel compelled to drive around and soak in the memories, from repeating my bus route to school to passing by the many places I played as a child. It’s always deeply emotional for me as I absorb the recall of my youth.

During this latest visit, it dawned on me as I was walking and driving around that my hometown is unique because virtually every single building within it is unique. The vast variety of architectural styles is dramatic. Even buildings with similar styles have strikingly different colors, details and landscaping. As a result, I would look at each individual structure and recollect memories completely specific to that one place.

The less a place changed, the more I remembered. The more distinctive the location, the more vivid the memory. The more intense the memory, the more emotionally connected I felt with the place.

This powerful experience reminded me of key components to creating magnetic communications, from the visual and verbal to the physical and experiential.

The more distinctive the presentation and the more consistent the quality, the stronger the impact and residual emotional imprint on an audience.

Originally published on December 17, 2014.

Copyright © Carrie Osgood | CLO Communications. All rights reserved.

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