Recency Bias

Have you ever experienced that you're at the edge of your seat, eyes glued to the screen as a movie begins with a jaw-dropping action sequence? Explosions, car chases, and heart-pounding suspense have you thinking, "This is the best movie ever!" But as the film progresses, that initial thrill fizzles, and you're left with a sense of disappointment.

In branding and marketing, this phenomenon is more common than you might think. It's what we call the "Opening Scene Effect." It's when businesses get so caught up in creating a sensational first impression that they forget about the rest of the story – their brand's story.

The Glamour of the Opening Scene

In cinema, the opening scene is designed to grab your attention instantly. It's packed with excitement, shocks, and visual spectacle. It's a brilliant hook. Similarly, in branding and marketing, the latest trends, viral campaigns, and immediate customer feedback can be captivating. They're the equivalent of that dazzling opening scene – attention-grabbing and exhilarating.

The Branding Dilemma

However, just like in that movie, the rest of the story matters. When businesses fixate on the glamour of the opening scene, they might fall victim to recency bias. This cognitive bias leads them to prioritize recent data, trends, or feedback, often at the cost of the brand's long-term history and values. It's akin to making marketing decisions based on the latest hype, without considering the enduring essence of the brand.

The Importance of Brand Continuity

Great brands are built on consistency and a compelling narrative. They aren't just a series of exciting marketing stunts. They're like well-crafted movies with a captivating plot that keeps the audience engaged from start to finish.

Think about iconic brands like Coca-Cola or Apple. Their success isn't solely attributed to their latest product launch or ad campaign. It's about the enduring story they've been telling for decades – the story of innovation, quality, and customer satisfaction. These brands understand that while the opening scene matters, it's the whole narrative that makes the difference.

Balancing Act

So, how can businesses strike the right balance? How can they leverage the allure of the opening scene without falling into the recency bias trap?

  • Know Your Brand's Core Values: Understand the essence of your brand. What does it stand for? What values does it embody? These are the building blocks of your brand's narrative.
  • Consistency Is Key: Maintain brand consistency across all touchpoints – from your logo to your customer service. Consistency reinforces the brand's identity.
  • Blend Old and New: Embrace innovation and trends, but make sure they align with your brand's core values. Blend the old and the new to create a seamless brand story.
  • Long-Term Vision: Look beyond short-term gains and plan for the long term. Your brand's story should evolve, but it should always be rooted in its foundational narrative.


In the world of branding and marketing, the "Opening Scene Effect" can be tempting. It's easy to get caught up in the allure of the latest trends and immediate success. But remember, a brand is not a single marketing campaign – it's a story. To build a brand that truly captivates your audience, focus on the entire narrative. 

Let your brand be the movie that keeps your customers engaged from the opening scene to the closing credits.

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