The spirit of a brand can be inferred through its products and its advertising. The content of a brand grows out of the cumulative memory of these acts, pro- vided they are governed by a unifying idea or guidelines. There must be accumulation, not mere juxtaposition. The importance ofmemory in the making of a brand explains why its image can vary between generations. This is the prob1cm with dual brands such as Citroën: the brand image ofthose who discovered it through the 2CV is diametrically opposed to that of the discoverers of the DS or XM. And those who knew the famous pre-war Traction Avant model may still remember it vividly. The memory factor also partly explains why individual preferences endure: within a given generation, people continue, even 20 years later, to prefer the brands they liked between the ages ofseven and 18 (Guest, 1964; Fry et al. , 1973; Jacoby and Chestnut, 1978).

It is precisely because a brand is the memory ofthe products that it can act as a long-lasting and stable reference, Unlike advertising, in which the last rnessage seen is often the only one that truly registers and is best recalled, the first actions and message of a brand are the ones bound to leave the deepest impression, thereby structuring long-term perception. In this respect, brands create a cognitive filter: dissonant and atypical aspects are declared unrepresentative, thus discounted and forgotten. That is why failures in brand extensions on atypical products do not harm the brand in the end even though they do unset tie the investors’ trust in the company (Loken and Roedder-John, 1993). Bic’s failure in perfume is a good example. Making perfumes is not typical of the knowhow ofBic as perceived by consumers: but sales ofball pens, lighters and razors kept on increasing.

Ridding itself of atypical, dissonant elements, a brand acts as a selective memory, hence endowing peoples perceptions with an illusion of permanence and coherence. That is why a brand is less elastic than its products

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