Once upon a time …

Shekhar Badve | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on February 25, 2016


The flashback to all good things about our past is a starting point for a brand to develop products, services or experiences.

A long forgotten friend, an old flame and once oft-visited places have myriad memories attached to them. Whenever your brain plays a flashback of these memories, mixed emotions come rushing to the fore. These oscillate from the jubilant and exhilarating to depressing or merely sad. It’s time to forget the bad memories and focus on the good ones. Have you acknowledged that feeling when you re-visit your childhood through photographs, your school days by merely crossing a katta (hangout) or a bunch of students walking by in a group? Very little can compare to this beautiful feeling of nostalgia!

One of the strategies in vogue these days is the ‘blast from the past’ or nostalgia. Those lazy naps in a hammock or reading your favourite book sipping your espresso — such instances help the consumer relive those moments or memories.

Brands are using such emotions to take consumers down memory lane and create strong associations and relationships or bonds. These strategies act as hooks and get the consumers to return to the brand. The unfortunate part is that brands are just trying to ride the wave of nostalgia and similar emotions (hooks) to sell their products and not go above and beyond.

Experiment, but keep the core

In a world of gimmicks, failing trust and short-term thinking, brands need to focus on real needs and cater to them truly. A strong core or purpose drives brand culture, its products and services and adds real value to consumer’s lives. If this value is delivered truly and consistently, consumers not only trust the brand but also love it. The flashback to all good things about our past then becomes a starting point for a brand to develop products and services or experiences, making the brand truly loved and relevant over the long term. If brands fail to create strong roots, no matter the level of effort, it will always look like a gimmick — focusing on some emotion a few weeks down the line and something else the next.

Brands need to balance maintaining the core and experimenting. Flirting and getting infatuated with newer experiments/gimmicks can hurt value. Consistency and core purpose are the perfect ingredients to start a fantastic recipe; ingredients might change as per context. Above all, we all want to create something we are proud of and be remembered for good for long. As Erik Devaney of marketing software firm Hubspot said, “When it comes to growing a loyal following of folks who love your business, creating content that makes them feel good seems like a winning strategy.

Published on February 25, 2016
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