“There are no certainties left in life”, some people say. And it’s not just older people who are complaining. However, there are always things you can fall back on, even in these most hectic of times. For marketeers and brand builders, a solution can always be found in their psychological bag of tricks. Especially when it comes to finding “certainties”. Everything used to be better, cheaper and easier. That’s crystal clear. And what’s more: it will still be true tomorrow. So, dear ad boys and girls: embrace the past and strengthen your brand with the certainty of yesterday.
Did you go to a Deep Purple, The Police or Sex Pistols gig recently? Neatly dusted off, they were rocking the festival stages like they’d never stepped out of the spotlight. Retro neon sneakers, Converse All-Stars, Arafat scarves, skinny jeans and thin black leather ties: fashion is also constatly going back to the 80’s. The explanation is quite simple. Our society is on a rampage. The country is constantly swerving from community-related issues to institutional crises. Wage costs are rising and spending power is dwindling. All these uncertainties stir up a penchant for the olden days. Because the past is understandable. It’s behind us, it won’t change. The future on the other hand is very unknown and that scares us.
Do the tape
This yearning to return to the past is everywhere. Even in graphic design. In an age where everything is made by computer, designers are reverting back to pencils, markers and paper. Or they use computers to create an artisanal, DIY vibe. The same is happening in underground music. Analogue is hip. Old toys and transistor radios are creating new sounds. Forget about sophisticated recording material: the tape recorder is back and in no hurry to leave. The thrift shop is the new Best Buy for musicians and other creative types. Making and handing out mixtapes is all the rage again. Much cooler than an iPod! And more importantly: it’s tangible. You encapsulate the tape in a cover you customised yourself.
All aboard the retro train!
Big brands are also getting on the retro train. They draw from their rich heritage and put out re-issues. Take for instance Nike’s legendary Air Force One. Or what about Adidas, the brand that employs young artists and designers to re-interpret their iconic designs? Think of retro SMEG fridges, retro interior decoration and design. Even re-issues of classic cars like the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500. Of course all these things have been equipped with the latest gadgets and technology. Memories from the past are a strong trigger to involve consumers in your brand universe. Compare it to the success of social networking sites likes Facebook: who doesn’t want to check out what their first crush looks like these days? Nostalgia is a factor that mustn’t be underestimanted when building a brand.
Our society becomes more and more complex as each day goes by. So the past still has a bright future. It’s an inexhaustible source of inspiration that brings depth to brand identities and involves consumers. So, marketing boys and girls, today’s lesson is: “Connect and stay in tune with your past!”