March 28, 2023
Even though the memories and the moments that trigger them differ, the complex emotion of nostalgia is one that resonates with every generation. It is that specific combination of bittersweet happiness and longing for a time gone by that some marketers have successfully leveraged over the years. Let’s take a look at nostalgia marketing and what it takes to execute an effective nostalgia marketing strategy.
What is Nostalgia Marketing?
Nostalgia marketing is a common strategy that takes well-known pop culture highlights from decades past and uses them to infuse new life into contemporary marketing campaigns to build trust with consumers. In short, nostalgia marketing taps into an audience’s fond memories and transfers that positive sentiment to a brand.
Why Nostalgia Marketing Works with Consumers
Revisiting old television shows, movies, music, and other pop culture moments will always evoke emotion in sentimental audiences.
Nostalgia marketing draws from a time that it perceived to be more ‘simple’. When brands align themselves with these memories, they can boost sentiment by tapping into that feeling of comfort, before the pressures of adulthood, like mortgages, children, car payments and the like made life more complicated and stressful.
Anyone who has spent time on social media has seen the ‘Only 80’s Kids Remember’ memes. Of course, whatever is on the list will be things that people from other generations will remember too, but it doesn’t make the content any less relatable to the target audience. Regardless of the generation a brand aims to reach, pinpointing a specific memory will forge an immediate connection with the audience.
An effective nostalgia marketing campaign makes an audience feel like a brand is ‘one of them’. Drawing from shared experiences and finding common ground with an audience helps campaigns resonate on a deeper level.
Creating a Successful Nostalgia Marketing Campaign
The first step in any effective marketing campaign is knowing the audience. For a nostalgia marketing campaign, it’s important that a brand uses data to know the age of its target audience. Once a brand knows how old its audience is, it will be able to dig into the pop culture archives and pull out the moments to create new content that will resonate with its target consumer.
Finding the right juxtaposition is an effective strategy to demonstrate the growth of a brand or of an industry in general. For example, a fitness brand could feature clips of retro workout apparel by showing an aerobics class from the 80s to communicate how the retro gear inspired its new collection. Beauty brands often do this when demonstrating how a new product is easier to apply or has been formulated with more advanced technology than an earlier version of the product.
Brands should never let an opportunity to collect user-generated content (UGC) pass them by. If brands are sharing content from their past, they should ask their audience to do the same. By keeping an eye on content created by its consumers, brands can build an archive of content that they can use to showcase the loyalty of their customers for years to come.
Brands that are established and have been around long enough to have an audience of young people who have grown into adulthood have content that they can pull from when this audience were children. This could be reviving an old campaign or some other type of memorable promotion.
A more recently launched brand could do something similar by sourcing older content related to the industry in general. The strength of this approach is demonstrating how the industry has changed, or how technology has evolved over time. It serves as a reminder to the audience of how things used to be when they were younger.
Nostalgia marketing gives brands an opportunity to dig through the archives and pull from content that resonates with their target audience. To add even more firepower to this strategy, brands should leverage content from creators who share the same memories and can connect with their fans.
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