Why Nostalgia is Top of Mind for Millennials
Millennials have distinctive shopping habits and tastes that can leave companies wondering how best to engage them, both as customers and employees. Leveraging nostalgia during your reward events is a great way to catch people’s attention and increase engagement, especially for this demographic.
When you use retro themes, you let people bring their own positive memories to your event. People will be charmed by memories of that candy they used to eat in elementary school, or an old-fashioned style their grandparents told them about. Here are some of the ways you can use nostalgia to appeal to millennials when hosting rewards events.
Effectiveness of Nostalgia
There are plenty of reasons behind why millennials love nostalgia. Theories range from the effects of a rapid technological evolution in the 1990s and 2000s, to the proliferation of digital archiving, to social media. Most people can agree that major changes in society lead people to feel nostalgic and commemorate the past, and that the social changes over the past 20 years have been closely tied to technology.
Looking to the past helps create feelings of stability and gives people a sense of understanding progress. Nostalgia is an appreciation of where we’ve been, often indulged through modern devices. People engage by streaming old television shows, shopping online for vintage clothing and using apps like Instagram to share photographs of old-fashioned storefronts and architecture. This combination of old and new is the hallmark of millennial nostalgia.
Make An Emotional Connection
Nostalgia on its own carries plenty of emotional weight and creates a feeling of longing for something that may no longer exist. But to effectively use it for your event, you’ll need to make a believable connection that justifies the blast from the past. Whether you have old television shows streaming around the room or distribute party favors that scream 1990’s, it’s important to integrate nostalgia into the rest of your event to give the theme a more authentic feel. Using these beloved icons, you can earn people’s attention and get an emotional reaction that makes your event more memorable.
Bring a Modern Twist
This may seem counterintuitive for nostalgia events, but connecting the past to the present is vital for effective engagement. Not only do you want people to remember the fun, kitschy and distinctive past, but you want them to associate those positive feelings to your company.
Find a hook that helps establish a reasoning for your use of nostalgic branding. Whether you capture the playfulness of childhood, have the reliable sturdiness of vintage appliances or the wackiness of flower power, choose a theme that lets you best show attendees your strengths. Use people’s strong associations with the past to your advantage when establishing a brand image.
Select Appealing Product Offerings
Fortunately, a lot of current nostalgia revolves around tangible objects and brands. People remember the specific products and brands they grew up with, or even the products their parents grew up with. This makes it easier to choose incentive rewards that align with a throwback theme.
For example, offering rewards from top fashion brands that have retro styles or kitchen accessories with wacky designs and colors. This invokes feelings of nostalgia yet still feel like modern rewards your attendees will use regularly. The key is to ensure your product offerings are something people want and need that also have some connection to the event theme.
Use Vintage Aesthetics
Focus on well-established signifiers of past decades. Color schemes and patterns are especially helpful for grounding an aesthetic in a specific time period. For example, starburst and atomic patterns immediately communicate a 1950’s look. Pastel colors like mint green, baby pink and cornflower blue were especially popular during that period. Bright floral designs scream 1960’s, and the 1970’s can be brought to mind with avocado greens and burnt sienna browns.
Some quick research on interior design at the time can help you create an event that captures bold aesthetics from the past. A unique look for your event captures attention in person and makes attendees more likely to share it on social media, where it becomes even more visible.
As you are leveraging nostalgia in events, be sure to capture the essence of the vintage theme or generation you plan to evoke. You don’t need to go all out for accuracy, however, to get the interest that comes with nostalgia. Using the aesthetic of years gone by while still providing modern convenience ensures that attendees will enjoy the event without having to remember the slowness of analog cash registers or having to use pay phones. Modern accoutrements keeps things comfortable. Helpful staff and fast checkout systems from skilled event organizers leave attendees happy and satisfied.
Rewards events are a great way to engage with customers and employees. When you want to reach millennials in particular, harnessing the power of nostalgia can help bring it to the next level.