With technology advancing on a regular basis it’s easy to feel overloaded with the latest trends and sensations. No one would blame you for feeling nostalgic about simpler times when Instagram didn’t exist and Game Boys were the best thing ever. Nostalgia is a powerful force that can bring back good memories. If you’ll allow me to wax lyrical about my childhood for a moment, I remember swapping Yu-Gi-Oh cards with my mates in the playground, coming home from school to watch shows like Hey Arnold! and Recess, or gaming on the PS One.
Research has shown that nostalgia has a positive effect, with Tim Wildschut and Constantine Sedikides of the Centre for Research on Self and Identity at the University of Southampton describing the phenomenon as “far from being a feeble escape from the present” it’s “a source of strength, enabling the individual to face the future.”
It’s no wonder that a lot of brands have tapped into nostalgia as a marketing technique. Not only is a simple concept, but studies have suggested nostalgia can inspire people to spend more money. So, which brands have made the most of the technique and how can your business benefit from nostalgia marketing?
Out with the new and in with the old
Growing up, gaming was one of the biggest trends for millenials, and Nintendo never forgot about their core audience. It’s why the company announced they were bringing out a mini version of the classic NES, complete with 30 retro games. For fans of the original console, this provided an opportunity for them to experience something familiar in a different format. The company also brought out the SNES Classic Mini, which quickly sold out worldwide, proving the effectiveness of nostalgia.
During the 1990s, Nickelodeon was an entertainment powerhouse for kids. Many people look back fondly on the cartoons, and Nickelodeon were happy to bring back the best of the past. The station set up a programming block called ‘The Splat’ which aired ‘90s shows like The Wild Thornberrys and Rugrats. The station allows millennial parents to share their favourite shows with their children, while also appealing to two demographics.
How can your brand benefit from nostalgia marketing?
There are a number of benefits to nostalgia marketing, such as leveraging the power of memory and encouraging consumers to connect on a personal level. A brand of any age or background can tap into the power of nostalgia to create feelings of comfort or happiness in their audience.
However, a lot of the success of nostalgia marketing is placed on how a campaign is handled. It’s important to get the right kind of feeling, otherwise a campaign could be seen as disingenuous. The campaign needs to have a purpose and here is a list of situations where nostalgia marketing could be used:
- Celebrating a milestone or the anniversary of your company
- Resurrecting a product or a service that’s been discontinued
- Drawing attention to a change within the organisation e.g. name or logo alteration
Another factor to consider with a nostalgia campaign is the age of your audience. Do you want to appeal to millennials or baby boomers? This will require research into the preferences of the audience.
If your brand has been around for a long time, then don’t be afraid to tap into its history. This can be a great way to increase the impact of the nostalgia campaign. Even a company that’s only been around for a couple of years can create a nostalgia effect by reminding customers of the good experiences they’ve had in the past.
A degree of experimentation can be a good idea as well. You don’t have to root your campaign firmly in the past. There’s room for new ideas and mixing the best of both worlds can create something magical.
Nostalgia marketing works because it recalls an idealistic time and makes people feel good about themselves.
(This post was first written for run2.co.uk)