Why childhood memories are a great source for branding inspiration

22 January 2018 | By Charlie Braithwaite

Bellman Agency - Brand Design

Think back to cherished childhood memories – the smell of Play-Doh, the hum of a lightsaber on a screen, sipping cola in a glass bottle. What’s one thing they all have in common?

If you screamed, “they’re all connected to a major brand” – congratulations! The role brands play in nostalgia is huge, in fact you could argue that a majority of the things we associate with nostalgia relate to a brand in one way or another.

Sentimentality is something that doesn’t go out of fashion, and some companies are actively playing on that as part of their strategy.

Take Nintendo for example, the gaming giants released miniature Nintendo Entertainment Systems and Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems in 2016 and 2017 respectively. These downsized versions of their classic consoles were preloaded with a selection of games and could easily be connected to modern televisions. Not only were these consoles a success – demand was so high that most shops sold out well ahead of release.

Compared to modern consoles these systems are underpowered and nowhere near today’s standards, but as pieces of nostalgia they put a smile on the face of customers, which is extremely powerful as a branding tool.

The purpose of this piece isn’t to say that you should drop what your business is doing and start producing Pokémon Cards or Polaroid cameras, but you can leverage the same principles.

Emotional hooks are great for establishing a connection with audiences. This can be done through smart copy in your brand story, a strong brand name that references something with nostalgic value, or imagery and colour palettes that evoke a sentimental reaction.

The purpose of all meaningful branding should be to create an emotional connection with your audience, so it only makes sense to think about the brands that give you a sense of nostalgia when looking for inspiration.

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