The saliency of a stimulus (an experience, brand, piece of communication etc.) is the state or quality by which it stands out relative to its competing stimuli.
The cognitive processes of saliency detection is considered to be a key attentional mechanism that facilitates learning by enabling an individual to focus their limited perceptual and cognitive resources on the most pertinent subset of available sensory information.
Salience describes how well your brand stands out from its competitors. From a neuroscience understanding salience would further explain how your brand stands out amongst competing brands vying for the same memory real-estate, especially the very scarce real estate available in an individual’s working memory.
It may be preferential to differentiate measures of memory from measures of salience.
Memory measurement may detect the likelihood a target stimuli will be encoded or recalled, but may fail to detect the key features by which the target stimuli is incorporated into key schema and or meaning systems.
Understanding salient features of a brand or piece of communication may help marketers better understand how these features affect the encoding of experience into pertinent memory schema.
It is not enough to just examine how memorable a piece of marketing communication or a brand attribute is. Customers may be remembering it, but they may not be remembering it in a meaningful way.
The relevance of the communication as well as the frequency by which it is presented are key to whether it will become locked into an individual’s schema and meaning systems. Just understanding whether something is primarily encoded into memory is not enough. We really need to know whether a meaningful encoding into pertinent memory schemas has taken place.