Employing the Past: Becoming a Beloved Brand by Leveraging Nostalgia
In the world of media, the zeitgeist has become rampant with a call back to fond memories of the past. The last few months have seen a resurgence in practices and properties that captivate our beloved conception of the past. “Ghostbusters” was one of this past summer’s hottest blockbusters, Pokémon Go has invaded the public consciousness, and “Stranger Things” has Netflix users binge-watching retro-80s goodness. Brands can benefit from associating themselves with an audience’s positive cultural memories—a tactic best known as Nostalgia Marketing.
A consumer is more willing to respond to a call-to-action when he or she feels invested. Those who believe they have a stake in the matter are compelled to act. There’s no doubt—no matter what age—that people hold fond memories and strong emotions for moments in their past. Tapping into this deep-rooted sentiment will forge a meaningful connection between a brand and consumer.
However, a slapdash deluge of retro-aesthetics and cheap iconography won’t win over audiences. Nostalgia Marketing works because of authenticity. In the current landscape of retail and industry conglomerates appealing to mass audiences, messages are often diluted and generic. Consumers crave intimacy. Something that speaks to them. Nostalgia serves as that emotional hook.
Successful campaigns identify the right touchstones, tug on the right heartstrings. And, although we all share a similar yearning for the past, only through a thorough understanding of an audience and its history will a brand’s message truly resonate (for example, a four-year-old will not share a similar fondness for Ferris Bueller as a forty-year-old). Companies must pinpoint their intended audience to leverage their emotional attachment to culturally nostalgic media.
In all these cases, brands didn’t package simple goods but long-gone moments. Selling the sentiment of youth, comfort, and understanding proves effective.
So, brands: Throw on your rose-tinted glasses and rifle through the archives, because leveraging nostalgia will help your marketing become more than just an antiquity.
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