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Take a Walk Down Memory Lane: What Festivals Can Teach Us About the Power of Nostalgia

Posted January 29, 2015 by Editor
Categories: Strategy

This post was written by Lenna El-Safwany, Director of Marketing at Jump Associates. Follow her on Twitter @lennalu, or connect with her directly by commenting on this post.

Over the past year or so, festivals around the country have leveraged one key marketing strategy to increase attendance.

When music fans bought that ever-evasive ticket to Coachella, or set out on the town to catch a live show, the prime motivation to do so didn't come from Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off.” It didn't come from Hardwell’s “Call Me a Spaceman,” either. Instead, their motivation was nostalgia—a chance to dance to the classics, from Dolly Parton to Outkast.

More so than ever, the music industry is leveraging the power of nostalgia to bring back loyal fans of the past and attract the new fans of the future. As it turns out, nostalgia isn’t just a good feeling—it can also be the core of a great strategy. Examining how music festivals and others are using nostalgia provides a great lesson: sometimes, we need to glance over our shoulder before looking ahead to find the next big thing.

Festival-goers now spend more than $1.7 billion a year on tickets. With sales of recorded music plummeting, music festivals figured it out pretty quickly: in order to grow your audience and ultimately, your revenue, you need to strike an emotional chord with your consumer. The result? Headliners like ACDC, Tony Bennett, with Lady Gaga, and Fleetwood Mac gracing the stages of over 800 festivals across the nation, drawing crowds 100,000-plus strong.

Emotion draws in the consumer, but leveraging emotions spurred from nostalgia builds loyalty. Psychologist Constantine Sedikides suggests that “nostalgia acts as a resource that we can draw on to connect to other people and events, so that we can move forward with less fear and greater purpose.” People are naturally drawn to what they know—which is why events like Coachella and Burning Man, events that have successfully built a sense of community around their purpose, continue to draw in loyal followers and new evangelists with nostalgia. What’s more, people are willing to pay more for things when those things make them recall a nostalgic event.

Media outlets are another great example of how businesses can use the power of nostalgia to drive audience growth. Nonprofit TV network PBS has long attracted the kiddo crowd with educational programming like Sesame Street, and has done this same for the Boomer generation with informational programming. Yet, despite its following, PBS needed a way to expand its audience to reach Millennials, that ever-important age group, without alienating its core base.


Enter PBS Digital Studios, a digital content arm that “inspires people to use their brains” through web based content. The first viral hit for PBS Digital Studios was an auto-tuned remix of Mr. Rogers, which resulted in two Mashies Awards for Best YouTube Brand Channel and Best Video Series. Aaron Shapiro, a judge at the 2013 Mashies Award said of the viral hit, “Bringing something of the past back to life in such a current way was truly innovative.” Now, half the viewership for the Web series PBS Idea Channel is age 25 and under.

Examples abound in many other industries, from insurance to toys. In an effort to engage Boomers and GenXers, who were slow to adopt Geico’s online, on-demand insurance platform, Geico launched a new ad campaign employing Salt n’ Peppa to “push it… push it real good.” State Farm commercials made a similar effort to seize the attention of the GenX audience with commercials featuring Hanz and Franz getting ready to “pump you up.”


Even LEGO, a favorite toy of children of all generations, rebranded to attract the adult segment and increase their market share. They launched a line targeting adult hobbyists with collectible pieces replicating icons of the past, like Tony the Tiger, Star Wars, or Batman. The nostalgia of playing with LEGO creates a loyalty to the brand and products for these customers as adults. Adults now account for 5% to 10% of LEGO sales.


Sometimes, the best ideas aren’t born from wholly new innovations, but rather repurposed gems of the past. The shininess of the new is alluring, but the past is sentimental and endearing. More and more brands are realizing how powerful nostalgia can be for increasing consumer loyalty—and for good reason.

By pulling at the heartstrings of old and young generations, from Boomers to Millennials, businesses can scale quickly without sacrificing their purpose.

So before you turn to the new to grow your business and increase loyalty, make sure you consider the past. When executed correctly, you may very well be able to use the power of the past to create new memories for your consumers that link them to your brand for a lifetime.


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Unlocking a Business Lesson for Alan Turing

Posted January 22, 2015 by Editor
Categories: Strategy

This post was written by Elena McCallister, Associate at Jump Associates. Follow her on Twitter @ElenaMcC, or connect with her directly by commenting on this post

If you haven’t yet seen The Imitation Game, I’ll be ruining it for you. But if you have seen the Oscar nominee, or you know your stuff when it comes to WWII history, or you’re curious about the business lecture I would have given one of the world’s greatest war heroes of all time, read on.

Alan Turing’s British voice breaks the silence to start the film. “Are you paying attention?”. He continues, “Good. This is going to go very quickly now. If you are not listening carefully, you will miss things. Very important things. You’re writing some of this down? Good.” Turing—English mathematician, code-breaker, sheer genius—goes on to tell the story of how he decrypted the German’s secret Enigma code during World War II so the Allies could understand enemy radio messages.

For those of you who don’t know this story, Turing’s journey of cracking Enigma was more than arduous. Stationed at the UK’s Government Code and Cypher school, he worked sleepless years to build a machine that promised to translate the Enigma code out of the 159,000,000,000 unique possibilities it took each day. And even if you cracked pieces of the code, the Germans reset a new code at midnight each night, so your success was short-lived. Turing faced a problem that many modern companies share today. His “spotlight” shone only on the construction of a mammoth machine, rather than illuminating the path forward of how to best use it.

Back to the movie. The moment we’ve all been waiting for arrives, and Turing flips the switch on the machine for the first time. The army of metal gears awakens, churning loudly. Your stomach drops, your eyes widen, you suddenly find your hands cupped around your cheeks…does it work? Did the machine work? Hey, why isn’t it working?

Days of churning gears go by, and Turing’s few believers are losing faith. “It’s searching... It’s just... It doesn’t know what it’s searching for...” Turing broods. The problem was that the machine was doing exactly what it was supposed to do. However, because of the enormity of the task—running through so many millions of possibilities each day—it could never strike gold before midnight. It was too big to succeed. As one Harvard thought leader wrote about companies similarly tackling too much, "Toobigs are enormously complex, with massive, self defeating strategies at war within, producing a lower return."

This is where I would have cameoed. Well, myself and Alexandra Horowitz. She’s the author of On Looking, a book about attention, observation, and exploration. There’s a section of her book that Turing needed to hear. She investigates the word attention: “The longtime model used by psychologists is that of a ‘spotlight’ that picks out particular items of interest to examine, bringing some things into focus and awareness while leaving other things in the dim, dusty sidelines…. And despite that spotlight, we seem to miss huge elements of the thing we are ostensibly attending to.”

Turing’s spotlight was focused too much on getting the bits and pieces of his massive metal machine to work. He did not consider the periphery—the outside factors, perspectives, and strategies that ended up being imperative for him to understand in order to win. Just like that 24-hour constraint, which made his machine’s efforts futile.

Much like Turing’s situation, what should be important to companies is not building a machine with infinite capabilities. It’s building that machine for a clear purpose, knowing how to use it in the right way, and excelling by playing to its strengths.

Up until Turing’s epiphany—which I’ll leave for the theaters—he tastes a bit of his own words of wisdom: “If you are not listening carefully, you will miss things.” If you, like Turing, aren’t able to zoom your perspective to include the periphery, you will miss things that can be critical to your strategy. This is true whether you’re a WWII code-breaker or a Fortune 500 CEO. It’s essential to zoom out of winning everything, and zoom into winning what truly matters.

Ask yourself: Are you focused on simply getting a big machine working, or using it the right way? What do you need to do to make sure you’re running your business in a way that best answers your core purpose? It takes attention to see through the wealth of decisions and information that can take you off path. If you don’t have your eyes on the periphery, chances are, you’re probably going to miss the mark.


photo credit:

Want to Be a Better Manager? Just Be Human!

Posted January 20, 2015 by Editor
Categories: Leadership

This post was written by Vanessa Canas, Executive Assistant to Dev Patnaik and Operations Lead at Jump Associates. You can connect with her directly by commenting on this post or following her on Twitter @miss_v83.

Management advice is not hard to find. Pretty much any person who has a job can give you some sort of advice on how to manage people, or at least, a list of things not to do when managing a team. There are great techniques that can be found all over the web on things you should do, or processes that should be implemented in order to be a successful manager.

The one rule that I continuously use (and don’t see much about elsewhere) is: just be human. It’s quite simple. Treat people the way that you would like to be treated. This is something that my parents engrained in my brain as I was growing up, and it stuck with me all these years to help me throughout my career.

What do I mean? Be a human…that is pretty simple, right? No—not for all people. There are plenty of stories that I can pull from my past of things that my managers did, or how they treated me in front of others that left me with a sour taste in my mouth and thoughts of revenge in my mind. The thing to take away from those incidents is what you’ve learned and how you will grow as a manager yourself because of it.

Since I joined Jump, I saw one position split into two, mentored several team members, picked up the slack after other team members left, took on new roles, and eventually became a manager of a team of 3, all while working in an extremely dynamic environment as the Executive Assistant to the CEO. A lot of what I do on a daily basis of being a leader to my team is listening to them, giving them guidance, and building confidence so that we live out our jobs through trust and respect.

Trust and respect are not things that come easily. You have to earn them. Not only do I have to be able to trust the people I lead, but they have to be able to trust me. Would I want to have a lead like myself? That is a question I ask myself and I can honestly say, yes…I would love to be on my team. Why? What makes my team rock?

In practice, a huge part of being human in management is communication. I tell my team to over communicate, but never under communicate, with me. Don’t leave me guessing why a deadline wasn’t met or why something didn’t get taken care of. Let me know what is going on before I have to ask you. This is hard. This is not the norm for many individuals, but for my team this works like magic.

This being said, there is a time and a place for everything. Have public conversations in public places and make sure you have private conversations behind closed doors. I will never call out a team member on an upset in public—all that does is harm the team dynamic and chip away at the trust you are continuously working on building. Not to mention, it would make me, as a human, look bad. The people I manage are my equals and that is the way I choose to treat them.

Tell your team when they are killin’ it! Say “thank you!” I make sure that I give my team credit for the amazing things that they are doing, big and small. Sometimes it is the little things that make all the difference. Realizing that all of our jobs contribute to the bigger picture of how a company is run is important and my team knows that they make a difference.

Second to perhaps only the CEO, my team comes in contact with more people across a wide variety of specialties and industries than just about anyone else within the organization. From first client contact through Alex, our receptionist, to strategic meetings with the leadership team, my team runs the gamut in terms of who we’re exposed to and what their unique needs are. All of that has given me quite a bit of perspective on how to succeed as a manager.

Management advice may not be hard to find, but it’s often more difficult to find good, actionable advice. That’s even truer in spaces that lie somewhat outside of traditional management circles. By learning not to take for granted your team, the need for learning and growth, and the power of communication, you too can improve your team as a whole.


photo credit: Adam Polselli via photopin cc

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