There is just about no limit to creativity or technology to bring that creativity to life. But there is a limiting factor to how information-rich a message should be.  

1 Idea – 1 Challenge – 1 Quote


Idea From Me

The magical number seven, plus or minus two

Old but gold research by the late professor George Miller found that the average human can hold 7 ± 2 chunks of information in short-term memory – that’s between 5 and 9 chunks of information at any give time. Over the years I have read various discussions about this magical number and there is more to it than meets the eye. Humans can, for example, hold about five word, six letters and seven digits in short-term memory. Also, our memory span, or the limitation of our memory span, comes into play because the magical number has to do with how many chunks of information we can recall immediately after exposure. Even though there has been additional findings and opinions regarding the magical number 7 ± 2, it is a useful rule of thumb to keep in mind when we communicate.  

Why information-rich advertising often doesn’t work so well

The magical number 7 ± 2 explains why information-rich advertising do not score high on recall. This aligns well with my believe that we should, per campaign, either do brand marketing to establish the brand and brand-related associations in consumers’ minds (long-term memory) or offering marketing to sell products and/or services. Start with brand awareness and simply promote your 1. brand name, 2. colour(s), 3. font, 4. symbol, 5. slogan and 6. (often neglected) category your brand plays in. Then what differentiates your brand in a separate campaign. Once these associations have been attached to your brand node in consumers’ minds, short-term memory is feed up and you can advertise product attributes and (preferably) benefits, value and why your brand exists. Human short-term memory holding- and recall capacity limit how information-rich communication should be.   Source: Miller, G. A. (1956). “The magical number seven, plus or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing information”. Psychological Review. 63 (2): 81–97. DOI:10.1037/h0043158  

Challenge to you

Review how many chunks of information your current advertisements contain. Less is really more when it comes to recall. Keep the amount of information you communicate to within 7 ± 2 chunks of information.  

How Does Brand Management Impact the Information-Richness of a Message?

Brand management plays a crucial role in shaping the information-richness of a message. Through strategic planning and oversight, the two important brand management functions ensure consistency and coherence in conveying brand messages. This helps to maintain the desired level of information-richness, enhancing brand recognition, credibility, and consumer engagement.


“Simple beats cute and clever.” – Donald Miller Share this quote on Twitter   Let’s BRAND FOR SUCCESS! Pieter Steenkamp, BrandDoctor   If you found this article helpful, then please share this link:   Meet Dr Pieter Steenkamp, your BRAND FOR SUCCESS guide. I am actually a brand doctor with a PhD in brand management from University of Stellenbosch Business School. As a brand management lecturer and researcher at a university in Cape Town South Africa and a regular visiting professor at universities in Germany, I stay up to date with the latest brand management developments. This affords me the incredible opportunity to consult with leaders of some of the most admired brands. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn Visit BrandDoctor site