Consider a coming-of-age movie that was popular during your youth, a favorite childhood candy or your high school prom’s theme song—these bits of nostalgia may bring back strong emotions and happy memories. Nostalgia is a universally experienced feeling that can counteract boredom, help reduce stress, provoke generosity and, in general, make people happier. It can also be a powerful marketing tool.
Many brands (think Pepsi®, General Mills® and others that have successfully launched throwback campaigns) are tapping into nostalgia marketing and using its influence as a strategy to connect with customers on an emotional level. A study from the Journal of Consumer Research found it could help loosen customers’ grips on their purse strings, too. In fact, consumers were willing to pay more for products when asked to think about the past.
Nostalgia isn’t just for large brands. A number of small businesses are finding success with it, too. This e-newsletter will offer tips on using nostalgia in your marketing efforts to connect and engage with customers:
- Know your audience: Nostalgic aspects of a brand or experience will vary greatly by generation—in other words, what’s nostalgic to one group may mean nothing to another. Know your target audience and make nostalgic connections that focus on good times.Consider a throwback day where you transform your office or store into a period from your audience’s good old days. Staff, office décor and food should fit the part, too. Post photos of your throwback day on social media and ask followers to post their own “good time” photos for a chance to win an iconic gift—a cassette-shaped tablet tote or a retro TV business bag is a fitting option.
- Listen to your customers: Consider polling customers, either in-store or via social media. Ask for input about bringing back vintage products or sharing memorable periods in your brand’s history. Then take action based on the feedback. Perhaps you can write a blog post on the history of a much talked-about product or service. Or post images of your business’s evolution over time. Regardless, be sure to reward those who participated by giving away a throwback item appropriate to your brand—a Muscle Cars Calendar, soda bottle-shaped water bottle or pair of retro sunglasses would be a great choice.
- Don’t do nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake: Not all brands are a good fit for nostalgia marketing. Companies with a rocky past or those relatively new to the marketplace could end up losing loyal customers if they change a product or service people love, especially just to ride the nostalgia wave.
Nostalgia marketing can be a fun and effective strategy to get your customers engaged and reminiscing about the good old days with your brand. Give it a try if it’s a fit with your company and its products or services. Then sit back, relax and let the good times roll!