Tips for Tapping into the Power of Nostalgia Marketing

2018/09/28 08:00

retro marketing nostalgia

How retro marketing tactics can help you reach out to customers in a whole new way.

From Pokémon and Vinyl to Nintendo Classic and Nokia’s infamous 3310, retro products from our past are making a swift comeback.

What is it about the good old days that put such a big smile on our faces?

Probably the fact that our world seems to be evolving at a speed that we can barely keep up with and these subtle memories from our past take us back to a simpler time, a time when the internet didn’t put so much pressure on us to be perfect.

Everyone has something in their home that takes them back to their childhood and many businesses are starting to recognize how powerful feelings of nostalgia really are.

Research shows that consumers are far more willing to part with their money if they’re spending it on a product or brand that brings up happy memories and feelings of comfort, which would explain why we have been seeing so many products from our past popping up all over the place.

A prime example is the NES Classic that hit store shelves in June this year. Not only did it top US sales charts, but it surpassed the PlayStation 4, Nintendo’s Switch and the Xbox One. 

The beauty of nostalgia marketing is that almost any brand can do it if they have a thorough understanding of their target audience as well as the product or memory they want to incorporate into their marketing.

All it takes is a little planning and an approach that feels and looks natural to your audience to benefit from a nostalgia marketing campaign.

Why Nostalgia marketing works so well

nostalgia marketing

Everyone experiences some form of nostalgia, from the cartoons we read to the foods we ate on a Saturday night, which is why it can be used to reach such a wide range of consumers. Our past experiences are what shape us as individuals, which is why they’re so powerful and prominent in our minds.

The power of nostalgia marketing lies in its ability to incite an emotional response in people. Unlike emotional marketing that uses one specific emotion to evoke a response, nostalgia marketing taps into a strong memory, which brings up a whole new range of emotions.

When we feel nostalgic, the reward centers of the brain are activated, making us feel warm, comfortable and happy. For some, nostalgia is even used as a way to cope with difficult situations and moments in life.

A number of brands have been using nostalgia in their marketing campaigns in an effort to bring about the feelings and emotions that will get people feeling good about the brands and products they encounter. These campaigns have been immensely successful and countless other brands have been inspired by them.

So, how do you incorporate nostalgia into your own marketing campaigns?

Nostalgia marketing tips

Nostalgia may be a simple concept that almost any brand can apply but if you don’t use it in an authentic way, it won’t have the effect you’re hoping for.

Nostalgia provides you with a way to make your brand more trustworthy by associating it with something your audience already loves. However, in order for it to feel “real”, it needs to align with your brand’s current values. If not, your audience will be able to see straight through you and it could have negative repercussions.

Here are a few tips to help you develop your nostalgia marketing strategy.

  • Consider Your Audience and Your Brand’s Personality

Before you can incorporate nostalgia into your marketing campaigns, you need to be sure that you’re drawing inspiration from the right generation. This starts with having a thorough understanding of your brand’s personality as well as who your target audience is. You will need to get quite specific with your target audience too. Closely look at the age-range of your audience to make sure that the images and ideas you have in mind will be relevant and relatable.

Next, make sure that your ideas suit your brand’s personality or you could only end up confusing your customers. The point of nostalgia marketing is not to move away from your brand’s existing persona but to complement it using concepts, characters, and products from our pasts.

  • Know Your Whyremember your past

It’s important not to undertake a nostalgia marketing campaign for old time’s sake. Your campaign needs to have a purpose.

Decide why this type of campaign would be good for your brand before you start delving into the details of your campaign. You could even look at the current campaigns that you have planned and see if you can take a retro-type angle. Some of the top reasons for running a nostalgic marketing campaign are:

  • A brand refresh or revival
  • Bringing back a product or service that has been discontinued
  • Marketing an anniversary or milestone
  • Highlighting a significant or even a minor change such as launching a new logo

Having a ‘why’ is a must before you pursue this type of marketing campaign.

  • Benefit from Your Brand’s History

If your brand has been around for a few years already, find a way to work this history into your marketing campaign.

Working your brand’s history into the mix will also remind your customers that you are experienced and that customers have trusted you for years. Mixing your history with something nostalgic will help create positive emotions about your brand by associating it with other brands and products that stood the test of time, creating a unique connection in the minds of your target audience.

  • Make it Shareable

What’s the one thing you want to do when you see or hear something from your past? You want to share it with someone you love or have a history with.

If you will be taking a nostalgic approach to your next marketing campaign, make sure that you use social media to spread the word so that people can share the memories with others.

Find a unique hashtag that will work with your campaigns that you can encourage people to use, spreading your campaign far and wide. Social media is the best place to start engaging and sharing fond memories from our past, creating a sense of community along the way – all of which will be associated with your brand.

  • Combine the Past and the Present

It’s important to remember that your customers are still living in a digital age so be sure to make your campaigns exciting as well as nostalgic to strike the right balance.

To create a nostalgic marketing campaign that really has an impact, pay attention to the details. There are lots of ways to make your retro campaign more modern but a small detail can make all the difference. A font, a song or a certain word can instantly take people back to some of their fondest childhood memories.

A little nostalgic inspiration

Here are a few examples of retro marketing campaigns that worked really well.

Spotify – Falkor and Atreyu

To highlight their 80s selection of music, Spotify incorporated Falkor and Atreyu from the Never Ending Story into their latest marketing campaign. They even used the original actors to make it as authentic as possible.

Adidas – Gazelle Revival

After realizing that some of their older shoes achieved a ‘cult classic’ status, Adidas decided to revive another one of their classics, the Gazelles. The brand collaborated with controversial media collage artist – Doug Abraham to give it a modern twist.

Adobe – Bob Ross

After the infamous Bob Ross was added as a TV show on Netflix, he started gaining immense popularity all over again. Adobe decided to use this resurgence to market their Adobe Photoshop Sketch application for the iPad Pro by creating several tutorial videos.

Dannon – Fuller House

After Netflix decided to reboot the popular TV sitcom, Full House, Dannon decided to partner with some of the cast members to introduce their new line of Greek yogurts.

Apple – Baking Cookies

Even though Apple is one of the most futuristic brands on the market, they decided to partner with Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster to market the iPhone 6.

What are the brands and products that make you feel most nostalgic?