How Nostalgia can Stifle Creativity in Marketing: An Opinion Piece

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. In a mere moment, a strong wave of memories and feelings, brought on by a nostalgic moment, can transport any person to a different time and place in their lives. Nostalgia is capable of providing great joy to a person, reminding them of generally happier and simples eras in their lives. Childhood nostalgia is an especially potent case. That said, marketers can often prey upon nostalgia in lieu of using creativity to market a certain product.

Take the recently released revival series Fuller House. The original series Full House, beloved as it may have been, was hardly a bastion of “must see TV.” Relying heavily on after school special lessons, laugh tracks, and cheesy repetitive jokes with hugs at the end, the series was no critical darling. However, the show was tailored made to appeal to families with kids of all ages. And so a generation grew up on Full House, memorizing every snappy catchphrase (not a difficult task with the number of times every character’s catchphrase was repeated). The show ran for eight years, and its success ensured longevity via syndication, allowing the next generation to have the catchphrases ingrained in their brain (myself included).

And thus Fuller House arrived, the sequel series created by streaming giant Netflix. The show’s premise mirrors the original series, except instead of three men taking care of three girls, the genders have been swapped (plus an additional girl amongst the three boys). Original characters DJ Tanner and Stephanie Tanner, alongside fan favorite Kimmy Gibbler, move in together to help DJ raise her three sons after she becomes a widow. A shred of creativity in the premise is not to be found, nor is the house setting of the show very different (the crew recreated the set).  Laugh tracks, lots of hugs, guest appearances by the other cast members, and repeated catchphrases, both old and new, abound in the show’s thirteen episode first season.

Here is the show’s official trailer.

That trailer exemplifies the idea stated in the title of this blog, which is that appealing to nostalgia is an easy way for marketers to stitch together a marketing campaign devoid of any creative process. The original theme song is used again, except redone by modern pop star Carly Rae Jepsen (a very fitting artist choice). The trailer centers quite a bit on the entire cast from the original, even though the old cast makes sporadic appearances, at best. And, of course, there are catchphrases coming from everywhere and from everyone. While the trailer does show the basic set-up of the new show, the trailer could have focused far more on the stories of the ladies, now grown up, and their children. Instead, half (or more) of the trailer is focused on the old cast and tired catchphrases.

Here is Fuller House’s teaser trailer. This brief trailer shows that creativity and nostalgia can be fused in an effective marketing package. The trailer focuses on the original Full House set, while the accompanying song is a perfect track lyrically to appeal to nostalgic feelings. The trailer closes with the sounds of the familiar voices of the cast. This is a great shame, that this creative trailer was followed by a far less exemplary display.

However, the argument can be made that Fuller House was created as an easy-to-make nostalgic cash grab to begin with. Having watched the show, I found the series entertaining enough, though the fact that the show does little in original scripting cannot be denied (as many critics have pointed out, as well). Furthermore, nostalgia based marketing has gathered more and more popularity, as discussed in this article. Yet, this article proves exactly the point of this post. Nostalgia makes marketing easy, lacking any effort or creativity most of the time. Considering the advent of TV revivals and remakes, marketing to nostalgia is the effortless cop out method to avoid brainstorming sessions and skip right over to the check.

 

 

LinkedIn for the Non-Profit: Ronald McDonald House

LinkedIn is a professional social networking site designed to help both employees and employers further their career goals with various networking tools. Founded in 2003, the social networking site has grown tremendously since then to become the most popular form of professional online networking.

My chosen organization, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Morgantown, does have a LinkedIn page. The company page has 135 followers, most of whom are employees, past and current. The page contains information regarding the organization including year founded, size of the company, the website link, and industry type. Furthermore, the “Summary” section has several paragraphs detailing what RMHC does and how the company achieves its goals.

LinkedIn has great potential for appealing to RMHC’s audience. Since LinkedIn is becoming more and more of a required network for college students, RMHC can appeal to volunteers and potential employees. In addition, RMHC can leverage LinkedIn to connect with other companies to create professional, mutually-beneficial relationships.

However, while the current RMHC LinkedIn page does contain adequate information, more could be done. The best way to leverage LinkedIn and appeal to the target audience would be for the company to begin publishing blogs and posts on LinkedIn. These posts could be summaries of events, stories of families the company has helped, or non-profit related posts. Such type of posts are the best way for RMHC to get noticed by either side of the target audience through LinkedIn, showing the audience exactly what the organization does. At least one post per week would be beneficial, with the potential for more posts dependent upon events held.

While the current LinkedIn page is not lackluster in information given, RMHC Morgantown could certainly do with using LinkedIn for more than just a summary section. To revive the page from inactivity, published posts would be the best way to leverage LinkedIn to form potential, long-lasting connections.

 

RMHC Morgantown LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/2545618?trk=tyah&trkInfo=clickedVertical%3Acompany%2CclickedEntityId%3A2545618%2Cidx%3A2-1-2%2CtarId%3A1458203013367%2Ctas%3Aronald%20mcdonald%20house%20morgantow

The Future of Marketing: Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a service provided by Google that tracks website traffic. First available in 2005, Google Analytics is continously being used by businesses and marketing departments to gather information about customers.

Google provides a website called Analytics Academy dedicated to teaching prospective users how to make use of the program’s features. While challenging, using this academy can tremendously increased the skillset of any marketer, and thus, increase the potential sales. Google Analytics can also be linked with the very useful Google AdWords (Google’s keyword advertising service) to allow the two services to trade information with one another.

The most imperative feature to learn about is the ability to create report. Google Analytics allow the creation of different reports that reveal various, pertinent information. For example, content reports are able to show how much time people actually spend on the many pages of a business website, while a funnel report can show in what order people view pages. Using the report feature is critical in getting the most data available from Google Analytics.

Marketing research is oftentimes imperative to the success of a business, and Google Analytics is one of the most readily available tools for that purpose. Using the program correctly and to its full extent can lead to future planning for a business’ goal, rather than merely looking back to the past. Google Analytics is the future, and every business should be looking forward.

 

Source:

Soat, M., (Feb. 2016). Google Analytics in 2016. Retrieved from https://www.ama.org/publications/MarketingNews/Pages/google-analytics-in-2016.aspx

The Storm is Here: How to Manage Crisis Situations for Non-Profits

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Corporations face unexpected situations that pose significant risk to their reputation, brand, and profits more often than not. In today’s rapid paced and social media obsessed society, news of such PR nightmares will be spread globally in mere hours, even minutes. And while social media can cause numerous headaches for corporations, the same additional problem can instead function as a potential solution for a corporation’s image.

Non-profits can face the same media disasters that for-profit businesses face. In many respects, non-profits have much more to lose with a damaged brand or reputation, as non-profits rely almost solely on outside help to accomplish their mission. For this reason, non-profits are, and perhaps rightfully should be, much more controlling of their disclosure of information and monitoring what is said about the organization.

My chosen organization, Ronald McDonald House Charities, is undoubtedly at risk of such potential situations like any other business. As stated by my sources, the best way to prepare for a disaster is to actually prepare for any given situation beforehand. A few examples that could threaten RMHC’s brand include (but certainly not limited to): employees or volunteers tweeting negative commentary about the organization, families unhappy with various aspects making their displeasure public, and an in-house shake-up being made public. Non-profits are prime targets for exploitative business people, who seek to abuse their position at a non-profit for personal gain. For all these situations, I would try to have a prepared response.

RMHC, as most non-profits and corporations alike, likely try to keep any potential scandal contained and secret. However, such a smooth recovery is not always possible, especially with social media. If I were doing reparative work following a crisis, I would use almost all the social media presence available to the organization, ie. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The most important aspects, I believe, would be honesty and equilibrium across all channels. A hypothetical situation of a family spreading negative comments via Twitter would certainly warrant personal outreach. However, I would also prepare a tweet such as, “We are extremely sorry for your issues with your stay. We promise to take into consideration your worries and address them efficiently.”

Moreover, I would focus on the positive happenings at the moment, rather than the negative. Without ignoring or covering up whatever the crisis may be (if said crisis has already been made public), I would use social media channels to spread the organization’s mission. For example, a Facebook post detailing the success of a recent fundraising event, with pictures and quotes from volunteers, would do much to repair damage and continue upholding RMHC as a beneficiary organization in the eyes of the people.

In essence, I believe the mightiest form of defense for RMHC when using social media to combat possible negative perception would be complete honesty, consistency, and positivity. Ronald McDonald House Charities is a wonderful organization, and I believe people will look past any unwanted negativity in a crisis to continue supporting the organization.

 

Sources:

Be Prepared: 5 Steps to Managing a PR Crisis

https://insurancefornonprofits.org/resources/Booklet-Crisis.pdf