Why the past can be the key for future brand success

Posted on 7th Oct 2011 by Scott Goodson in Blog

Hands-up if you’ve noticed that many popular brands are reviving themselves by dredging up the past.

Why? We’re all hungry for retro. Look at Nike. It has enjoyed recent success by launching styles influenced by what you may have worn on your feet 20 years ago. Similarly, PepsiCo recently announced that old-school versions of Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Doritos would be a permanent feature on grocery store shelves. Major food manufacturers like Heinz and Hostess are turning back the clock with limited-edition retro packaging and even reviving long-gone but favoured recipes.

But why would big-name, household brands need to look to years gone by to make themselves relevant to today’s consumers?

It’s possibly because we all remember with fondness the things we enjoyed in those care-free days when we were younger. In these austere times, nostalgia can act as a great loyalty-booster for brands. You may not have drunk a can of Pepsi for years, but seeing it in all of its original glory may just tempt you again.

Brands which capitalise on their retro heritage instantly give us something to relate to. Because not only is retro cool amongst new consumers, it’s also a way of keeping existing customers happy, and recapturing ones which may have moved their loyalty elsewhere over the years.

Interestingly, Pepsi’s revived retro can isn’t just new packaging, it proudly states that the drink inside is made with ‘real sugar’ – which these days is a real rarity. You know what you’re getting when you drink this, and it perhaps isn’t so healthy. But has Pepsi suffered a backlash for this? Not one bit. Because again, nostalgia also equals authenticity. This is the ‘real deal’ – and it’s sugar coated.

So let’s enjoy this throwback revival. It tells us we can trust brands – they’ve been around for years, and their values today are just as relevant as they were before. After all, if it was good enough for your Mom and Dad, it’s good enough for you.

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