#tbt or #ThrowbackThursday is a well used hashtag challenge; sharing a nostalgic picture, comment or post from your past. Sports Illustrated cite sneaker-specific blog Nice Kicks as the source of the challenge, and with over 500 million #tbt shares on Instagram alone it’s clear that the act of recalling a moment from our past and sharing that with others resonates with us deeply.

So why is that? Well, a decade of global research detailed in the New York Times in 2013 found that “Nostalgia has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety. It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders. Couples feel closer and look happier when they’re sharing nostalgic memories. On cold days, or in cold rooms, people use nostalgia to literally feel warmer.” With that in mind, it’s clear why we like to share past moments.

We can attribute the same feelings to a business sharing past moments too. Celebrating a past win, the start of a relationship with a new client, or a successful project clearly has huge benefits for your organisation in terms of marketing your services, products and expertise.

There are also benefits to your team too. When we look back at work moments we take pride in, the same emotional response is triggered in us: we feel better about ourselves, our capabilities and our skills.

Remembering a past win drives us to do better with our current projects – it inspires us to work hard and achieve that success once more.

Nearly 20 years ago I worked at an organisation with a team that was combined from many companies thrust together through multiple rounds of mergers. Whilst the team was generally happy and everyone worked well together, the creative spark hadn’t ignited as quickly as we had hoped.

We were in a swanky new building in Soho, everybody had access to the tools they needed to do their jobs well and each member of the team was first-class in their area of speciality. But something was missing.

In merging the multiple companies together, each group had lost their identity. It’s not easy to create a new one overnight, but I realised that rather than focussing solely on the current successes, we also needed to acknowledge why each of these people were here in this newly formed team.

I asked each of the team members to point me in the direction of projects they had enjoyed working on; things they were proud of having a hand in, or things that their colleagues had made that they were proud to be associated with.

Next I asked our internal clients, colleagues from other departments, to tell me the work the studio had created that made them smile, had given a big impact to them or that they felt was world-class. I had a huge number of responses.

One night, after everyone had left, and to the puzzled look of the friendly cleaning staff, I took one of the newly painted walls in the studio and covered it from left to right, floor to ceiling with print-outs of the work that had been submitted. There were so many pieces I couldn’t fit them all in.

The next morning, as the team arrived one-by-one, I could see the smiles on their faces. Everyone that entered the studio stopped, looked at the wall and searched for their favourite piece. They took real pride when they found their work or suggestion. It was a curated #ThrowbackThursday way before that was even a thing. One that we all contributed to and took great benefit from.

So right now, with things the way they are for many people and organisations, think about what past memories your business can share with the world. Consider how sharing that memory will help position your business, and also the hugely positive effect it can have on you and your team.

If you need help planning a strategy around this activity, I’d be honoured to help you. Get in touch with me here on LinkedIn to have a free chat to explore how we can work together.

Following my own advice – here’s a #tbt of mine, admittedly it’s to only a week ago, but the article itself is an entire throwback for years worth of work in movie marketing: http://cordialfox.com/20th-x-men-anniversary/


Adam Jennings, Cordial Fox Co-Founder & Creative Leader

Adam Jennings is co-founder of Cordial Fox Limited. He has almost 30 years experience in the creative industries, working with clients such as Microsoft, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, BBC Worldwide and Penguin Random House. Adam is available for creative and strategic consultancy, creative support, public speaking and creative mentoring.