August 8, 2023

The Value of Brand Nostalgia

In a recent article in Adweek, “For (Re) Brands, It’s Back to the Future,” author Lee Rolston makes this important point about brand marketing:

“Being distinctive is the most important quality your brand can have. You can forget about optimizing your lower-funnel metrics if most of the content you create is not being recognized or attributed to your brand.”

Anyone who has participated in a Coleman Insights Plan Developer perceptual study knows “Fit” is our measurement of brand fit. Sure, you may call your radio station the Classic Rock station, and you may in fact play Classic Rock, but if another station is getting credit for it, the station can never fully reach its potential. Our Unaided Awareness measurement addresses the recognition part of the equation. Can consumers name your brand in the category whether or not they personally use it?

Recognition and attribution are essential elements of success.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know there are signs of nostalgia everywhere in 2023. While there are several explanations, there is comfort in the familiar, and building familiarity is no easy task. Images are like icebergs. Slow to develop, slow to erode. Brands that include Burger King, Pepsi, M&Ms, and Fanta have returned to classic-looking logos that previously went through various incarnations. Rolston offers a great line when he shows his mother some of the new “old” logos. “Isn’t that what they’ve always looked like?”

Be very careful and think very strategically about brand changes. If research indicates your brand has developed precious positive imagery, it should be treasured and handled with care. If you’ve abandoned such imagery, perhaps it’s worthwhile to conduct a fresh study to determine if there’s value in bringing it back.

Brands shouldn’t be nostalgic for the sake of being nostalgic. But if nostalgia is rooted in powerful brand recognition and attribution, it should not be ignored.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>