If you’re anything like as sad as me you might be able to chapter sections of your life defined by which trainers you were wearing to run in at the time, yep I’m being serious! I mean things like where you ran, PBs you set, people you met while out running or set off with, whether you learnt anything new or listened to a particularly great playlist. The more memories and experiences we share with an object will influence how we see and value them as products.
This concept isn’t limited to trainers of course but I think they’re a great example of how our emotions are so closely linked to memories shared with the things around us. Experiences ultimately share how we interact with brands and as people how we talk about object and influence them in turn.
Products are ultimately souvenirs of a collection of stories or a culture that we’re part of. The stronger the story, the stronger the connection. It’s human nature that we seek connections to cultures, they bring us closer to other people, to ourselves, and make us feel connected to something bigger.
I heard about a project a little while ago called HistoryTag which made great use of this concept, the idea is that every product is assigned a unique ID number, when the buyer purchases, they code the number into the website and they’ll see a collection of footage of their unique thing being assembled. Perhaps its pictures of where it was made & by who, songs that played as a zip was being sewn in, etc. Or it might just be a blank slate ready for the new user to add all their own footage to start a scrapbook like collection of all the best days, worst days, memories and achievements they have made with that product. Imagine if you picked up a pair of jeans from Oxfam and were able to access all the stories that those jeans had lived out before you picked them up, then you add more yourself.. essentially products and objects grow their own set of stories which are unique to them and the value over time shifts.
HistoryTag is just one wonderful idea, but I think much more can be done too.
These are my old trainers, they’ve ran over 350 miles, in 9 different countries & with 4 different running clubs, it’s safe to say they are full of memories. My new pair are a blank canvas right now, but not for long..