The Future is Retro – guest post by Allison Cenna

I love how some retro brands have totally reinvented themselves, like Converse, Mini even brands like Adidas and Puma tapping into the old school. A colleague of mine, Allison Cenna at DDB Chicago has done loads of work into how brands are reconnecting with their retro roots. She’s written a great paper on it here and she agreed to do a little post for me.

The global success of Transformers movie franchise, proves retro is a money spinner for brands

The global success of Transformers movie franchise, proves retro is a money spinner for brands

Hi, I’m Allison Cenna from Chicago. Thanks for the guest post, Dan.

Over the past year I’ve spent a lot of time studying retro brands and developing a research paper about their youth appeal. In the States, brands like PBR, Transformers, Rubik’s Cube, and the Street Fighter video game series have been resurrected and met success.

The big question I kept asking as I researched these brand stories: What makes certain retro brands attractive to Millennials? And how can marketers revive others for lasting appeal? My paper outlines a set of rules to help retro brands connect with today’s youth:

Allow for Rediscovery:

 Retro brands offer old-school cool and authenticity that’s hard to replicate. But in-your-face marketing tactics can be a tough sell with savvy Millennials. Figure out how to let them find and embrace your brand themselves – discover and adopt it in their own way.

Connect with Timeless Values:  

Simplicity, identity, membership, independence, authenticity, and fun are increasingly important—especially today.

Stay true, but contemporize:

Successful retro brands modernize. But they stay true to heart of what made them popular. Classic appeal, contemporary features.

Create a community:

Successful retro brands give fans something to share with each other. This creates a swarm of advocates that propels the brand.

There’s some really insightful stuff in the paper, so check it out. I particularly believe in the areas of REDISCOVERY as I genuinely believe brands these days wanting to connect with youth have to be unexpected, surprising, spontaneous and let them discover your brand narratives across different media touchpoints, as opposed to slamming it down your face.