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Heritage Branding: The Hidden Value of Nostalgia


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Imagine you’re sitting with your grandparents on a warm summer evening, listening to a story from their glory days. Believe it or not, the telling of these tales is a valuable marketing strategy called heritage branding. If you’re in charge of boosting lackluster sales or need to compensate for a loss in market share, it might be time to revitalize your brand with some forgotten gems from the past.

Here are three examples of successful heritage branding:

Oreos: Evoking Nostalgic Moments

Popular products have a way of seeping into our everyday lives. Stuffing a fresh lime into a Corona bottle or listening to the Snap! Crackle! and Pop! of Rice Krispies are brand rituals that illicit a strong emotional reaction. Oreo’s Twist, Lick, Dunk campaign draws upon the classical ritual of dunking an Oreo in milk. Because it’s something that even our grandparents can remember doing, the iconic cookie curates a culture that includes people of all ages.

K-Swiss: Revitalizing a Vintage Icon

Incorporating vintage designs and slogans from your brand’s past doesn’t have to be a gigantic endeavor. The new K-Swiss logo resurrects a retro typeface used by the US Federal Highway Administration in 1966–the same year K Swiss was founded. Little salutes to the past can make a big difference!

Columbus Salame: Telling An Old Tale

When it comes to packaging, Columbus Salame turned to its old-world roots by depicting vintage Italian maps and a Renaissance-inspired illustration of the explorer himself. This design helps reinforce Columbus Salame’s strong commitment to classical meat preparation, which includes handcrafted curing techniques. The brand upholds a distinguishing tradition that helps it sell easily in upscale markets and delis.

Heritage Branding and Your Company

Whether your brand has been around for five months or five decades, there’s probably some untapped value in your history. Think back to that catchy 1950’s commercial slogan or reintroduce a discontinued label–it just might help you rekindle an emotional response from your customers. Everybody likes a little nostalgia!


Michelle Polizzi is a freelance writer and former content coordinator for Brandfolder. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her bicycling around Denver, catching a live concert or cooking up a fresh vegetarian dish.

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