79. Why Our Brains Love Nostalgia & Traditions (And How To Incorporate Them Into Your Business Strategy)

12.20.2019 - By The Brainy Business | Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy | Behavioral Economics

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Holidays are a time filled with traditions and reflecting upon the past, remembering the good ol’ days or reliving your childhood…while creating new memories with (and for) those around you. This episode is all about nostalgia and traditions, and it fits in perfectly with the holiday theme. As we dive into the topic of nostalgia, I’ll explain nostalgia’s Swiss origins in the 1680s and the root of the concept. I talk about how it’s not negative or pain inducing, but it can be triggered by a sad or tragic event.  There are a lot of benefits of nostalgia and thinking about the good ol’ days. It can help increase self-esteem, feelings of belonging, growth on a psychological level, and even make people act more charitably. It can also be a powerful technique for marketing and advertising.  People are most likely to become nostalgic at major transitions in life. This is why a midlife crisis is a time where people buy the car they always wanted when they were in high school, or go back to visit their childhood home. Marketing or advertising for these sorts of things at the right time can trigger nostalgia and action in a buyer of a certain age. I’ll be talking about all that and why our brains love nostalgia and tradition while also giving a few tips about how to use this in your business – whether it’s at the holidays or any other time of year. Show Notes: [02:22] The concept of nostalgia was first introduced in the 1680s. Being far from home caused Swiss soldiers to have all kinds of symptoms. [02:40] The root is from the concepts of “return home” and “pain.” [02:55] Everyone can feel nostalgia, and it's not negative in and of itself. [03:11] A sad event may cause us to think about the good old days. There are actually many benefits of nostalgia. It can help increase self-esteem, and feelings of belonging, and encourage psychological growth. It even helps us to remember that our lives can have meaning and value. [03:44] It's also a powerful technique for advertising and marketing. [04:00] Our bodies are made up of constantly changing atoms. Our makeups change every five years.  [05:23] Sometimes what feels like a tradition is actually an assumption from the observer. [05:49] Ask a question. If you've always done something a certain way ask why. (Even if it doesn’t appear broken...ask.) [06:09] Nostalgia helps us remember our lives have meaning and value. Most of our best memories are from the ages of 10 to 30. This span is called the reminiscence bump. [06:26] This period of time is important, because it's heavily linked to the time that we form a sense of ourselves. [08:45] Children are quite sensitive to effort, and with good reason. Actions speak louder than words. [09:17] Children can differentiate between fantasy and history, evaluate the strength of evidence and prefer claims with scientific framing. Children in many cultures are less likely than adults to appeal to supernatural explanations for unlikely events. [10:09] Feelings of nostalgia are most likely to come up whenever you feel sad or lonely. Nostalgia – remembering important people in your life or key moments – can help you to feel better about yourself. [10:51] People are also most likely to become nostalgic at major transitions in life. This is why a midlife crisis is a time where people buy the car they always wanted when they were in high school, or go back to visit their childhood home. Marketing or advertising for these sorts of things at the right time can trigger nostalgia and action in a buyer of a certain age. [11:16] Finding a trigger that can make someone feel nostalgic can make them feel better and more endeared toward your product. Incorporating all of the senses is also important. [13:03] Studies have shown nostalgia physically warms you up! [13:21] Our brains are also wired to make memories much better than they actually were. Our nostalgic brains build memories up to be better than anything that could possibly be. [14:33] Our brains are nostalgic and brands can and should use this in advertising and marketing when it makes sense to do so. The right memories need to be chosen and triggered properly. Get as close as possible to the context and emotion. [16:32] When you feel nostalgic, ask why that experience meant so much to you. [17:03] The brain does things based on what has felt good in the past. [17:44] There are four key elements of a traditional ritual. This includes 1) a strictly defined time and place, 2) a set of features that are repeated year after year, 3) another set of features that are different from year to year, 4) and a lot of symbols. [18:42] It's psychologically important for the event to contain a lot of sensory information. [19:53] Having enjoyed a happy set of childhood traditions makes parents more likely to give you support and enact effective rituals for their children. It has actually been shown to create more mentally strong kids. [20:34] Traditions have been passed down through story or ritual in cultures all around the world for a reason. They teach us morals and what is important. [22:24] Brands like Macy's have holiday traditions, and there are even traditions in the brand of food we buy. [25:22] I have loved learning about some of your traditions over the last couple of weeks – and not surprisingly, this is something people love to share about because…we love our traditions! [26:08] What is your favorite holiday tradition and why is it important to you? Will you tell me about it on social media? [26:28] For your business, it is a good time to ask, is there something you can do to be part of a tradition at the holidays or any other time of year? How can you be part of a ritual?   Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show.  Links and Resources: The BIG Brainy Bundle ending SOON! Use the code BRAINY100OFF by December 31st to get all three pieces (a $1200 value) for just $599. I can’t wait to have you join us in 2020. Master Your Mindset FREE mini-course Why Do We Feel Nostalgia? - Clay Routledge Why Do We Feel Nostalgia? Why Children Really Believe in Santa – the Surprising Psychology Behind Tradition Why Do We Experience Nostalgia? Episode 24. Vision Does Not Happen In The Eyes, But In The Brain – On The Sense of Sight: A Behavioral Economics Foundations Episode Episode 25. Why Burnt Popcorn Has Derailed So Many Meetings – On The Sense Of Smell: A Behavioral Economics Foundations Episode Episode 26. Why You Actually Taste With Your Nose – On The Sense Of Taste: A Behavioral Economics Foundations Episode Episode 27. Did You Hear That? – On The Sense of Hearing: A Behavioral Economics Foundations Episode Episode 28. Why Picking Something Up Makes People More Likely To Buy – On The Sense Of Touch: A Behavioral Economics Foundations Episode Why Do I Get Nostalgic? That bittersweet longing for the past can have an important impact on the present. Advertising to Bilinguals: Does the Language of Advertising Influence the Nature of Thoughts? Episode 68. Counterfactual Thinking: Why We ‘What If’ And ‘If Only’ (A Behavioral Economics Foundations Episode) Episode 78. How to Become Indistractible, Interview With Author Nir Eyal Why We Love Traditions, According To Science Episode 19. Herding: Come On And Listen…Everyone Else Is Doing It: A Behavioral Economics Foundations Episode Episode 73. 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