We recently offered advice on how to market your small business to Millennials, the largest group of emerging consumers to date. A recent trend that appeals to both this crowd and older audiences is nostalgia marketing. Although nostalgia is specific to each individual, overall it succeeds at triggering fond, sensory memories from childhood or adolescence in previous decades. Psychological studies show that nostalgia promotes optimism, feelings of connectedness, and self-esteem. The tendency to remember yesteryear’s good times also reduces stress.
Because nostalgia helps people feel better about themselves as well as the cultural past, evoking this emotion through content can boost consumers’ associations with your small business. Big brands such as Coca-Cola, Herbal Essences, Lego, and Microsoft have tugged on the heartstrings of many using nostalgia. The three following suggestions will make your brand a master at leading its audience(s) down memory lane.
No. 1: Revamp something old to make it brand new. Seeing something that causes recognition and remembrance creates the opportunity for consumers to interact with your small business on an emotional level. In order to successfully apply nostalgia marketing, your brand will need to take something from the past and tweak it for the current digital landscape. Artifacts of marketing’s past include direct mail campaigns, magazines, and newspapers. Nowadays, paper-centric communication is associated with junk mail and landfills. To revitalize this medium, your small business will need to create high-quality content or content that interacts with print and newer technologies. Some of the recent, most successful direct mail marketing are works of art that are sent via FedEx and/or DHL. The best example of not just revisiting but revamping the past is Pokemon Go. In the summer of 2016, a profusion of users had the chance to collect the familiar Pokemon creatures from their youth; except this time, instead of cards, the exchange utilized augmented reality.
No. 2: Create an authentic, emotional hook while still offering something new. Because the world has become increasingly digital with social media, smartphones, and apps, building a personal connection with your small business’ audience can prove to be difficult. Nostalgia marketing can bridge this gap by humanizing your brand, but it must be done authentically. Your brand will need knowledge about unique cultural phenomena of the past that also aligns with your business’ overall message and values. Funny enough, in order for your brand to exhibit nostalgia that truly resonates, it will need to research modern trends. Monitoring hashtags like #ThrowbackThursday and #FlashbackFriday on social media will give your small business an idea of what people are still talking about and might like to see brought back.
No. 3: Mix elements of the past with the technology of the present and future. Visual images and feeds are the present and future of consumer discovery. Platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat prioritize visual communication, making it easy to create and share nostalgic content. On these platforms, you can even mimic elements of film photography through filters and editing. Also, your business ought to consider the photo booth's resurgence in popularity. Even with technology’s advancement, consumers still long to remember and create memories in the physical world. Innovative ideas such as the Little Printer capture this sentiment, allowing a 21st-century audience to indulge in the simpler past while inhabiting the complex, modern world. Although your small business will want to continue streamlining in the digital landscape, crafting your brand’s marketing message with elements of nostalgia will attract audiences young and old. Doing so will also position your small business as the gatekeeper to the best of both worlds: the past and the future.