Nailing the Element of Nostalgia in Your Branding Efforts

Many marketers are jumping on the nostalgia bandwagon, but it can be tricky to get it right. Here’s how to do nostalgia right when it comes to branding.

Nostalgia Is Now

It’s no secret that nostalgia is one of the biggest trends right now. Pokemon, Harry Potter, Grunge, and all things David Lynch have made a comeback into the mainstream in a big way.

As the years pass by, many people miss things from their past. These objects, songs, scents, or whatever they may be are often attached to memories of simpler times. In a future obsessed world, where everyone is constantly trying to innovate, nostalgic things are relaxing. They are almost like comfort food.

One of the main goals of digital branding is to get customers to have positive associations and good feelings about a company and their products. Using the appeal of nostalgia in branding is a great way to get a target audience feeling good about your company, products, and services.

SEE ALSO: The ABC’s of Digital Branding

The Magic of Nostalgia Marketing

Many brands are using a clever strategy to capitalize on nostalgia. This strategy is called nostalgia marketing. Nostalgia marketing has a time and place, and the time to take part in it is most certainly now.

Brands of all kinds are putting more time and energy into creating effective nostalgia marketing campaigns for a good reason. When consumers evaluate brands, they usually rely more on emotions than just facts alone. Nostalgia is a way to bridge that gap and create a strong and instant feel-good connection with consumers.

If you can make customers feel good, you can also make them feel good about your brand. When it comes to growing a loyal fanbase that genuinely loves your brand, the key is making positive content. This positive content must make them feel good to be truly effective. It will make consumers more likely to engage with your content, share it, and make purchases.

SEE ALSO: The Psychology of Sharing

However, while this type of marketing might immediately bring to mind the ’90s nostalgia that’s sweeping the scene now, it does not have to be limited to that.

The Freia Example

Norwegian chocolate company Freia uses marketing campaigns that play with nostalgia for childhood, or memories of the country Norway itself. These commercials make consumers associate their brand with the joy of childhood and a Norwegian identity.

This commercial of a young boy running from older boys to avoid sharing or giving up the delicious treat emphasizes the treat. The song in it also really drives the point home that Freia chocolate will take you back to your childhood.

How Can your Brand Tap into Nostalgia Marketing?

Many brands are tapping into this tactic because it works so well. It can allow both small and large brand to connect with their target audience on an authentic emotional level.

Everyone from high-end fashion brands to fast food restaurants are using nostalgia in their branding. Brands ranging from Pepsi to Calvin Klein to Spotify are going retro. They are adapting old school designs, ideas, and more to push consumers’ nostalgia button.

1. Inject Nostalgia Marketing into your Content

Adding nostalgia can create a deeper emotional connection with your audience. Buzzfeed is one brand that does this very well. Many of their articles, quizzes, videos, and other content are based on nostalgia. Such as their recent article “27 Things That Were Very Much “A Thing” For People Ages 24-34.”

It features things like:



nostalgia marketing

Buzzfeed gets a lot of flack on the internet, but they also generate huge amounts of revenue by harnessing the power of nostalgia.

Giving people positive nostalgic feelings in your brand’s content means that they will associate your brand with those feelings. This will make them feel better about your brand and more likely to engage with and make purchases from you.

SEE ALSO: 3 Quick Tips to Achieve Content Marketing ROI

2. Use Nostalgia Marketing to Get Consumer Attention

While people love things that are new and exciting, they also love things that are familiar. If you can remind them of something they already love, know, and think is great, you will likely win them over.

In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, nostalgia makes people more likely to spend money. This is partly because it evokes positive feelings such as trust and comfort, which leave people more open to brand messaging.

3. Make Use of Nostalgia Marketing in Social Media

When it comes to branding and marketing, the social media’s importance can’t be ignored. In fact, 33% of all of the time spent on the internet is spent on social media platforms.

Nostalgia can be used to create new content. It also is a great vehicle for repurposing old content. Using nostalgic images, quizzes, other content, and hashtags can inspire consumers to take a walk down memory lane with you. Popular nostalgia hashtags include:

  • #ThrowbackThursday
  • #FlashbackFriday
  • #TBT
  • #FBF

They are so popular that #TBT has over 400,000,000 posts tagged this way on Instagram alone.

Here is a #TBT tweeted by actress Sharon Stone. It taps into the ’90s nostalgia of the moment.


You do not have to have glamor shots or go back decades with your content either. Using photos of a year or two ago, or even a few months to illustrate a progression of some kind can also work to humanize your brand.

SEE ALSO: How Consumers Want Brands to Act on Social Media

The Past is Present

Ultimately, nostalgia is a potent marketing tool. However, it is not just about slapping images of the past on things to make content that feels purposeless. It is about interpreting the past in a way that feels new and exciting. For example, Buzzfeed curates all sorts of nostalgic content. They talk about nostalgic movies, toys, experiences, and novelties that would interest millennials with witty and fun commentary.

It is key to know your audience when doing this. While the TV show MASH is nostalgic, referencing it likely won’t earn you any points with a Gen-Z target audience. It must be the right nostalgic content for the right demographic done in the right way.

When done right, nostalgia marketing can help to build a powerful personal connection between consumers and your brand. It can immediately bring up positive associations, and make it more likely that they will feel good about your brand. This will make them more likely to purchase from you.

Do you think nostalgia marketing is the next big thing or already on its way out? Comment below…

Written by
Juntae DeLane

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