Rising Stars: The Power of Nostalgia in PR
Interns Public Relations

Rising Stars: The Power of Nostalgia in PR

By D+P Interns

Picture this: It’s your daughter’s graduation day. After all the ups and downs, you watch her walking in a blue cap and gown straight into her future. All you can think about is the past, though, as images of her kindergarten graduation flash through your mind. She’s holding a bouquet of flowers bigger than her, smiling from ear to ear. You wonder how the time went by so fast.

To the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and all those who have been there every step of the way: they may not remember those days, but we do. Make sure, one day, they can remember them, too.

D+P Camera: Made for Memories.

Nowhere in that blurb did it mention anything technical about the camera. There was no talk of the exterior or the shutter speed, but it tugs on your heartstrings. It makes the reader think of the “good old days,” which they now attribute to the brand as well. This is the essence of nostalgia PR.

Nostalgia evokes a number of feelings related to the past. Even if someone longs for those memories, they feel grateful to have been reminded of what once brought them joy.

That joy can be used to a brand’s advantage. With the use of nostalgia, an audience will now see the brand, organization or person in a more emotional way than before. Those emotions will now be attributed with the product, which builds stronger bonds with the brand itself.

No matter who you are, nostalgia hits everyone at some point in their lives. However, not everyone will feel nostalgic over the same things. This is why age is important to keep in mind. You wouldn’t use an old Taylor Swift song to market to 60-year-olds in the same way you wouldn’t share a commercial from the ‘70s to market to teenagers. Even if they enjoy the advertisement, it will not strike the same chord as it would for someone who grew up seeing it in the first place.

Timing is also crucial when utilizing nostalgia in communications. Recently, on TikTok, images have been circulating of the “classic 2000s Christmas.” These TikToks are on the trending page because they remind so many Gen Z users of their childhoods right as the seasons are starting to change. If you’re a brand trying to market a new product during the upcoming holiday season to a group of 20-somethings, you could do worse than to use one of these images.  Bring out the Christmas cartoons, the old stockings hanging on the mantle and the “outdated” wrapping paper. It won’t feel outdated to them.

Certainly, there is a time and place for nostalgia in PR. It is not a “one size fits all” situation to make every customer fall in love with a company. More often than not, though, nostalgia  can reach an audience in a way that tells a story people will remember. Nostalgia persuades people to tap into their emotional side, which will likely help improve their opinion of the brand.

So, what do you do now? Try keeping these tips in mind when using nostalgia in your next PR campaign:

  1. Think of your target audience. How old are they? What area of the country do they live in? These types of demographic questions will help you figure out what was popular when they were growing up.
  2. Remind yourself of what would bring back the “good old days” for you. What events may be significant to your generation? You will not always be able to use materials that are nostalgic for you, but it will make you think about what is universally special to certain groups of people.
  3. Keep the nostalgia authentic to your brand. What memories or events truly fit the product? It is important that the use of nostalgia enhances the story, rather than takes away from it altogether.

Whether it’s Christmas morning or a child’s graduation, everyone has memories they hold dear. The key is to use those memories to bring people together in favor of the brand.

Rising Stars is a series of thoughts, reflections and perspectives by the interns at Devine + Partners. Margo Haas is a senior with a public relations major at Temple University.

D+P Interns

D+P Interns