6 November 2020

Research pick: Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be - "Childhood memories affecting brand loyalty and consumption behaviour among adult consumers"

Memories from childhood can be the most engaging when it comes to marketing. Feelings of nostalgia or of having a shared recognition for times gone by can be strong. Work published in the International Journal of Business Innovation and Research, looks at twelve variables that influence memory and brand engagement and awareness in a group of men and women in the age group 21 to 45 years.

Rajagopal of the EGADE Business School at the Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico City, Mexico, explains how childhood memories can affect how adults make their purchasing choices when it comes to consumer goods. The strongest effect is simply that of nostalgia, adults wishing to recapture the pleasures of their childhood, through rekindled brand loyalty.

Childhood memories are often retrieved when we are in adulthood during leisure time with family, friends, or in social gatherings. The narratives that emerge may well then influence engagement with the brands and products with which we become familiar as children and lead us to look again at those products in adulthood. The study was based on convenience brands familiar to those in Latin American markets. The research suggests that this effect is strongest in women who took part in the research survey.

If a person was not particularly familiar with a given brand in childhood, there will be only a weak nostalgia association and thus re-engaging with that brand in adulthood is less likely. However, ones where a strong memory is present and some degree of emotional attachment will necessarily lead to a stronger sense of nostalgia and a greater chance of said brand becoming familiar and cherished once more in adulthood.

Rajagopal (2020) ‘Childhood memories affecting brand loyalty and consumption behaviour among adult consumers’, Int. J. Business Innovation and Research, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp.400–420.

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