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Gone with the wind; Nailing the Element of Nostalgia in Your Branding Efforts

Whether it’s seeing a pack of letters from an old friend, hearing an old song, playing your favorite game or eating your favorite foods that take you back down the memory lane , or when your nose catches a familiar fragrance that an old high school sweetheart used to wear, there are numerous objects, situations, smells, tastes and sounds that make us feel nostalgic.

Be it Pokémon, Harry Potter, or choker necklaces, this summer has been a blast from the past. With the passing of years, we develop a yearning for the days gone by, making us more in tune with marketers and advertisers use of what researchers deem as “a longing for positive memories from the past.”

Nostalgia in advertising is akin to comfort food. At a time when marketing heavily centers on the future, nostalgia takes us all the way back to a simpler place where the hustle and bustle of our rat races seem to melt into oblivion and our current problems cease to matter. Instead of sitting on the edge for the next important thing, nostalgia in marketing makes us focus on what we already love.

While intuition already tells us that nostalgia infuses a feeling of continuity and meaning in our lives, it makes us more prone to part with our wallets. For instance, music recordings that were released when we were young adults have become deeply ingrained in our memories, all set to unleash an avalanche of vivid emotions and memories when replayed, especially in ads.

This is the reason many marketers have started jumping on the nostalgia bandwagon to woo and retain their customers. From breakfast cereal and fast foods, to gaming systems and everything in between, brands worth their salt are engaging through retro roots — and baselessly giving it the label of nostalgia marketing.

Indubitably, incorporating nostalgia in your branding efforts is an invaluable tactic that can evoke positive memories in your target audience and engage them.

Nostalgia – A Powerful Marketing Strategy

The sense of nostalgia is being capitalized on by many brands with a powerful marketing strategy – and it’s called nostalgia marketing. It is the right time for marketers to tap into the power of nostalgia marketing and get tremendous results.

Brands from across all industries are spending more time and energy in creating nostalgia marketing campaigns in a way that influences consumers’ purchase decisions. When consumers evaluate a brand, they heavily rely on emotions more than hard cold facts. Nostalgia is an excellent marketing strategy that wins the hearts and minds of consumers.

If you can make your consumers feel good about themselves, you can make them feel good about your brand. When it comes to growing a loyal fan base that truly loves your brand, creating content that makes them feel good seems like a winning strategy.

For instance, a Norwegian chocolate company Freia has a tagline which literally translates to “A piece of Norway.” The latest ad for the company embodies this heartfelt sentiment in an elating, straightforward way, with the main protagonist depicted as an expat living out in New York as a fashion stylist. Upon returning home one evening after a taxing day at work, he discovers a half-eaten bar of Freia in his refrigerator. Just one bite brings back fond memories, compelling him to take the next flight back home to his majestic landscape. The message is loud and clear: Freia ties you to your roots and makes you feel connected to your homeland, regardless of how far you are from home.

How can Your Brand Use Nostalgia?

Believe it or not, in today’s highly fierce business world, incorporating nostalgia in your branding efforts can allow both small and established brands to connect with their target audience on a powerful emotional level. From fashion brands to fast food restaurants, brands have started leveraging this emotional tactic in more innovative ways.

Brands such as Nike, Pepsi, Sony, Adidas, Calvin Klein, and Spotify are already tapping into retro designs and strategies to trigger the nostalgic nerves of their existing and potential customers.

Incorporating Nostalgia in Content Marketing

Adding nostalgia or your brand story within your content can create a deeper emotional connection with your target audience.

Let’s take an example of Buzzfeed:

Buzzfeed is generating massive revenue by using the concept of nostalgia in its articles. A post titled “19 Toys You’re Still Mad that You Never Got As a Kid” is the best example that makes people feel joy and reminisce the good old days. These positive and strong feelings are quickly associated with your brand and trigger people to invest in your brand in the future.

Your brand can also come up with some topics that can resonate with your specific audience and leave them feeling nostalgic. You can also create an infographic that illustrates your brand story or the problems/changes that your company has experienced throughout the years via a timeline.

Use Nostalgia to Get Customers’ Attention

In a time when almost every brand is focusing heavily on the next great thing, adding nostalgia to your marketing efforts can urge people to focus on the things they already know are awesome. A research published in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that nostalgic feelings made people more willing to spend money on products and services they want.

Have a look at this video:

McDonald’s created an ad campaign to inform its customers about the changes they made in their chicken. The brand excellently used nostalgic surrounding in its “Time After Time” campaign and tried to inform today’s parents that it’s totally safe to feed their kids chicken McNuggets as they are now free of any artificial preservatives and antibiotics.

Nostalgia in Social Media Marketing

Nostalgia can be used to create new engaging content along with sharing old content on social media platforms. Your brand can make the most of this winning strategy by sharing nostalgic images, quizzes and hashtags that can entice your readers to go on a walk down the memory lane with #ThrowbackThursday or #FlashbackFriday hashtags.

Have a look at this post by Onsharp:

The brand intelligently used #TBT and shared the special moments of their company when they achieved an important milestone.

Star Wars makes their audience feel nostalgic with this #TBT post of 70’s era ad.

Another inspiring example of nostalgia marketing in which Grand Hyatt New York shares New York Post’s #TBT, featuring the oldest-known video footage of the New York city.

To Sum Things Up

Nostalgia is a powerful marketing tool that brands can use to emotionally connect with their audience by interpreting the past in a way that seems new in an exciting way. When done right, nostalgia can create a personal connection between your potential customers and your brand while encouraging them to make a purchase decision.

Macy Lambert

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