Should Your Brand Leverage Nostalgia for Market Share?

POSTED BY Greg Keating ON Aug 12, 2020 1:45:29 PM

Red rotary dial phone.

Most of us long for a better time, especially these days. Using that desire for a better time is called nostalgia marketing. CPG marketing teams can use this technique to attract more customers and earn market share.

Using nostalgia is one way to market your brand. Does this only work with certain groups or products? If it's a good idea, what are some of the best ways to use it? 

Understanding Nostalgia Marketing

You don't have to be old to be nostalgic. Forbes says even millennials long for their younger or better days. Remembering the foods you ate or the clothes you wore way back when creates a feeling of longing that marketers can harness to sell products.

CPG marketing teams can leverage nostalgia, or the fondness for things in your past, to drive conversions. You can see this in the weird, retro Colonel Sanders KFC ads, or a revisit to the old Nintendo video game line. And it's working, but why?

Nostalgia marketing seeks to bring back a time when you felt good, when times were simpler, when there was no social distancing, and you could go out to a happy hour. Mom's cooking may be a fond memory, and old songs always get your attention. Autopilot describes it as, "Essentially, nostalgia marketing aims to capture (or rather, re-capture) your audience's attention by tapping into older and more familiar trends from the past." 

Why does nostalgia marketing work so well? Research says that this type of CPG marketing can counteract anxiety and loneliness by bringing back a time when we didn't have those emotions. Nostalgia marketing is a type of emotional advertising that takes you back to a time when things were just fine. 

Using Nostalgia Marketing for Your Brand

Bringing back old celebrities from our youth or using retro colors can take us back in time to our happy place. This positive emotion is an authentic feeling of happiness, and it's that authenticity that grabs the consumer every time. 

The Shelf has a great paragraph that tries to get to the heart of why nostalgia marketing resonates so strongly:

"Ahhh, the good ol' days. A time that was more certain, more secure, and more comfortable (probably because these good ol' days happened back when someone else was doing all the adulting for us - haha). But those types of positive emotions tied to SIGNIFICANT memories form the core of why nostalgia marketing is so effective."

From boy bands to the moonwalk, the Mickey Mouse Club to Friends, nostalgia is a powerful tool that can benefit CPG marketing teams. The question is, for your target audience, what are they really nostalgic for? 

Michael Jackson's legs in a dance.

If you can find that button, push it; nostalgia marketing works precisely because we all long for something that seemed to make life more fun, interesting, or happier.

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Topics cpg

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