Nostalgia, a Forgotten Element of Content Marketing

Andrew Britteon

Nostalgia is an element of the communications mix that marketers can take advantage of to engage their audience and make them resonate with a given brand. Brands can take advantage of well-loved figures, films, past family memories or classic products to attract the attention of their target market and influence their brand perception.

As consumers are becoming more and more aware of our efforts to attract their attention, the use of nostalgia provides an opportunity to engage our audience in a more personalised way and change their opinion on our clients. An investigation into the use of personal and historic nostalgia has shown that the introduction of a nostalgic element improved information processing and ad-based responses in comparison to non-nostalgic advertising.

With so many options to choose from, read on for tactics on how to leverage consumer attitudes using the element of nostalgia.

John Lewis Incorporates Nostalgia into “The Boy and The Piano” Campaign

This year John Lewis took us back in time with their “The boy and the piano campaign”. In this ad, we are taken back to the moment when Elton John was given his first piano. Whether you’re a music person or have another hobby, the content inspires us to create that special experience for someone else.

What’s even more effective about the approach from an organic point of view is that tone of voice on the John Lewis gifts landing page matches the user intent for a person who has viewed their video advert and decided to find some inspiration. The page makes use of a logical heading tag structure, including the phrase “gifts for him” in the heading tags on the page.

Creating an Emotive Response

Recent research on creating change brand attitudes has shown that nostalgic video advertisement is more attractive and therefore more likely to generate a change in brand attitude, this objective has certainly been achieved by “The Boy and The Piano”.

It’s one thing for us to push messages to the consumer, but we can make a more significant impact on the attitude of the consumer when we tap into their personal set of memories. This way the control lies with the consumer – they can make up their own mind about how they feel about our brand because of what they see, hear, touch and feel.

Using Nostalgia as Part of a Digital Campaign

With the increased use of mobile devices and availability to reach the consumer at multiple touchpoints, there is more opportunity to create consumer experiences which take advantage of nostalgia. Brands selling products such as kettles could recreate the sound of your family kettle coming to the boil and deliver it to you as you’re going about your day. Who wouldn’t fall in love with that?

Nostalgia can also be a tactic that we incorporate into the way we design creative for social media advertising. Kodak recently carried out a “Throwback Thursday” campaign, incorporating a 70’s style logo. Campaigns like this are great for creating a sense of heritage and authenticity, while resonating with an audience which grew up in that era.

To create an effective website in terms of SEO we encourage our brands to create link-worthy content. Nostalgia is another element we can play on, to make sure that bloggers relevant to our industry are engaged by the content which we create and excited enough to talk about it.

By incorporating nostalgic elements into content relevant to industry bloggers, we are giving them something to talk about in their own blogs. Providing bloggers with a reason to discuss our brand creates an opportunity for our page to gain backlinks or mentions, which can therefore impact the visibility of our brands and their content.

Throughout the SEO community we are well-aware that Rank Brain is capable of discerning between links that have been bought or incentivised and natural editorial links. It is highly important that we use all the weapons in our arsenal to obtain as many great quality, authentic and earned links as possible.  Even if the bloggers that mention our brand don’t directly provide a link back to it, it is still impactful on rankings as we are increasing our overall level of online sentiment. Gary Illyes from Google has been quoted many times on Twitter; suggesting that Google does scrape off-site sentiment signals and incorporate them into the rankings process.

When creating a digital marketing plan, brands need to make sure that they make the most of the opportunity to leverage consumer attitudes. It can be tempting to try and over-innovate, however taking the nostalgic route which has so many advantages should definitely not be overlooked when trying to connect with our target audience and building out our online profile.

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