Your history is powerful, so share that story

To be successful in business it’s important to keep moving forward but don’t forget your past.

Your personal or business history has shaped where you are now and can be both relevant and interesting to your audience.

Although the bulk of your media content should focus on the needs of your customers, looking back at your history can be a fascinating way to talk about you!

We love a bit of history; after all we all have one! When the story is told well, someone else’s history is compelling.

Learn from the KFC Colonel

When I saw that KFC was celebrating the 60th anniversary of its ‘bucket’ by bringing back its founder Colonel Sanders in commercials, it stirred nostalgia.

I remember being a kid in the 70s, seeing the Colonel on TV and longing for the treat of a Family Bucket and a Wall’s Viennetta. [Millennials take note, in the starkness of 1970s Britain, this WAS luxury!]

It made me think of the little parade of shops in Tunbridge Wells where we would stop at KFC on the way home from meeting my dad after work on a Friday.

The new ads use technology to blend the original Colonel Sanders with contemporary footage, to create something that combines a current offer with fond memories.

Considering it’s just a bit of chicken, it took me right back and (although it’s not a frequent food choice for me) gave me a sense of confidence in the brand.

Stir that nostalgic feeling about your own brand

Your business may not have the long history of KFC but that’s OK.

If the business itself is relatively new, how about sharing how you came to start it. This can show your passion, your experience and give a sense of ‘foundation’ which is often lacking in our transient modern lives.

Although this is about your story, tie it into your audience’s lives to create a connection. I didn’t mention Wall’s Viennetta without reason; that was there in the hope of triggering a memory for you!

In a world that is in a bizarre place currently, glimpses of the past are comforting and that can bring some love for your brand.

What to share

If you have a business anniversary or milestone coming up, that creates a wonderful opportunity to reminisce.

For example, if you started in business 20 years ago, how about sharing some pictures of your first premises (kitchen table?) or an early catalogue.

This doesn’t have to be done in a serious way; have fun with it. Point out how silly some of our old ways seem today!

If your business is about a product or process, how about looking back at how it has changed. This can be a subtle way to show how great your product or service is today.

If you don’t have a business milestone of your own, what about the product or service itself? Is something you sell marking an anniversary?

Getting creative

You could even use something unrelated to your business to look back.

If a major event or perhaps a movie or album release is being celebrated, piggy-back on that wave of nostalgia by sharing your business memorabilia from that time.

And if you are the kind of business that likes to have a bit of fun, then here’s another example of getting creative…

This year is the 30th anniversary of the movie Dirty Dancing. How about you and your team re-create a scene?!

Keep the purpose in mind

Using nostalgia, as with all of your media content, is about creating something interesting, compelling, relevant; that your audience (customers) will enjoy, comment on and share on their social media.

While nostalgic content may be a detour from the usual focus of serving the needs of your audience, and should be used sparingly, it can still be powerful in stirring emotions.

Even if your audience is young, you can still use history, especially in a lighthearted way, but perhaps go back just a few years.

Finally, me

I can’t ignore the fact that it was 30 years ago that I started my professional media career.

I was at Metro Radio in Newcastle, presenting the 2-5am show and looking something like this: