One of the easiest ways to use your brand’s heritage to engage consumers is to create a portfolio of content to use across all your communication channels over the course of a year. In layman’s terms: you collect a folder of old stuff (photos for Throwback Thursday on Twitter; blog posts for your website; old editions of your company magazine for your Flickr page) and you plan when you are going to put them on the internet for the public to look at. You don’t have to upload them all at once, you can spread them out over the year.
For brand managers who are nervous about social media, don’t be nervous about this. It couldn’t be easier or more rewarding; your consumers will love seeing your old material.
One of my favourite projects for Nestlé was the creation of their memory pack (it was originally called the Reminiscence Pack, but it takes me ages to look up the spelling of reminiscence so I switched to ‘memory’).
The memory packs were an unexpected success. I had been inundated with requests from care homes that wanted to borrow packaging from the Nestlé archive to use for therapeutic reminiscence sessions with their residents. Unfortunately I couldn’t lend out our artefacts, but I still wanted to create something tactile that would trigger more memories than just a handful of photographs.
I was inspired by some postcards that were really popular in National Trust shops during my childhood; you used to be able to buy giant postcards with the illustrated image of an old building on them and by following the instructions on the reverse you could cut out the illustration, fold it in various places, glue it together, and make a 3D model of the old building. I looked at my archive and wondered: how Blue Peter can I go on this? The answer was: quite a lot.
The first memory pack contained 1960s tinned food labels (so that consumers could print out the labels at home and then stick them to their existing tins to pretend that their larder was a 1960s time capsule); 1930s sweet cartons (print them on card, cut them out, glue them, and you have a 3D carton); a 1950s sweetie board game; photographs of employees at work in the factory in the 1950s; pop-up advertising units (requiring more Blue Peter-ing); and even advertising posters from the past. The best bit about it all was that Nestlé made it available for free on their website as a PDF for anyone to download and take to their local print shop. All of a sudden anyone could get hold of it, and tens of thousands of people did. Nestlé were so pleased with how well it was received that they commissioned three more packs.
What was really wonderful about it was the stories that reached us from care homes and day centres where the memory pack was bringing back happy memories for so many people.
Your portfolio of content doesn’t have to be complicated; even if you just start off with a few old photos and a few vintage advertising posters for people to download you will still bring back happy memories for someone, and that’s always a good thing.