With only 6 weeks till Christmas, many businesses are ramping up for peak sales season. In fact, they would be silly not to.
According to a recent Facebook study, 60% of Australian Christmas shoppers say they explore new products more during the Christmas period than any other time of year*1. This makes it the perfect time to target new or niche audiences that you’ve been wanting to tap into and help spark a valuable connection.
But without sounding like the grinch, Christmas can get a bit monotonous from a brand communications perspective. Whether you're preparing for the classic 12 days of Christmas, or your long-awaited Boxing Day sales, every brand is putting their spin on Christmas (or, as I like to call it, festivas).
How do you make sure your brand stands out from all the noise?
Don’t be a Christmas spammer:
Social media has the tools to allow you to ‘do’ Christmas right – it just depends on how you use them. A recent study conducted by Facebook found that 79% of Gen X and Boomers surveyed in Australia have shopped online during COVID-19 vs. 63% before the outbreak*2.
With less people physically shopping and more people going online to do their Christmas shopping, it’s important to make sure your Christmas campaign sparks joy in the digital realm.
Yes, I’m talking about Marie Kondo sparking some Christmas joy!
While you may assume your Christmas campaign has to mirror your social media or eDM content, it doesn’t have to be the case.
If you’re concerned Christmas doesn’t align with your social media strategy, there are ways around this. Utilising paid Facebook ads is a great way to promote Christmas deals off-page without spamming your existing followers.
Another way around this is through Instagram Stories. Frank Body launched their holiday kits via Instagram stories last year. This strategy helps to build hype and creates a sense of urgency as the ads vanish after 24 hours. The best part is, the brand saved all this content in one ‘holiday’ Instagram highlight so consumers could go back and see the products.
Align Christmas to your brand values:
Imagine whispering in your customers' ear: “We think this would be a great Christmas present because we know you value X like us”. Without creepy undertones.
Now imagine yelling in your customers’ ear: “CHRISTMAS IS COMING. BUY THIS”. Which one do you think will be best received as a wake up call?
Probably neither if you’re still thinking about my creepy metaphor. However, you get my point. Subtlety is key. If you want to stand out from the competition, it’s important to utilise your brand's values and what makes your brand unique.
Make sure your communication style reflects your brand and that you’re not just following everyone else's Christmas campaigns. Brands have the power to be creative and unique with their Christmas strategy, so why do we see the same things over and over?
It can be easy to get caught up in the Christmas cheer, but it’s so important, now more than ever, to make sure your festive campaign aligns with your brand values that your customers expect from you as precedence throughout the year.
1 in 4 people surveyed in Australia bought a brand for the first time after learning about the company’s values, causes or practices*3.
It’s safe to say everyone has had a bit of a rocky year, so during the festive season, showcase what your brand has to offer as a culture.
A brand that showcased their values really well during their Christmas campaign last year was Bonds with their #BondsMakeTheSeason campaign. The campaign celebrated relationships that matter over Christmas featuring everyday people in their Christmas collection. Showcasing their values as a family brand, built on strong relationships combined with a beautifully-worded Christmas pun can go a long way in terms of establishing a connection with consumers. It encouraged consumers to share their valued relationships wearing Bonds via Instagram proving Bonds can be more than just an clothing brand, but a culture too.
Build long term relationships:
Utilise Christmas to give your brand more value to customers, but there’s no reason to stop at Christmas. The smart brands continue it on to the new year to build long lasting relationships.
My colleagues recently published a white paper about the Brand Experience Path explaining how to nurture the consumer journey. Whilst the Christmas campaign is often seen as a month-long rapid fire push for sales, it can also be a great time to attract new audiences, detect new niches and this could help build your 2021 strategy.
Whilst the brand performance strategy is more for the long term, several aspects, if not all of it, can be applied in the short term during Christmas.
It is time to share more than the Christmas deals. It’s time to share values and take action. Show your community that you are more than just a sale. Show them that you can be a long-term influence in their life.
So among all the jingle bells and the Santa clause puns, your brand should be showcasing your value through your brand communications. Stand out and don’t copy the rest. The outcome could be long lasting if you do it right.
Disclaimer: Whilst Christmas is a great time of year to push your marketing efforts, it’s also important to be culturally sensitive and inclusive. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, so be wary of this and inclusive in your seasonal strategies.
Words by Social & Digital Executive, Annie Davidson.
*1 - “Facebook Seasonal Holidays Study” by YouGov (Facebook-commissioned online study of 1,634 people aged 18+). Australia data only. 2 Dec to 24 Dec 2019. 5
*2 - Consumer Sentiment Snapshot by BCG, Australia, 2093 respondents, May 21 - 26 2020. Question: Ever since COVID-19 emerged in Australia, what explains your spending behaviour on digital/online channels - % of consumers who purchased digital before COVID-19 or purchased for the first time during COVID-19
*3 - “Annual Consumer Journey Study” by Kantar Profiles (Facebook-commissioned online study of 1,884 people ages 18+ in Australia). July 2019 to November 2019.