Rise Above the Holiday Noise

‘Tis the season to get ready for the holiday rush.

Channeling a more tailored approach during this time of year can make all the difference in your customer retention efforts.

According to Deloitte, 75% of consumers are willing to purchase from new brands over the holidays. By building brand recognition that lasts beyond the holiday season, you turn holiday shoppers into repeat customers. The best part is that consumers who have been gifted your product might even be experiencing your brand for the very first time.

But, with holiday marketing campaigns everywhere, how do successful businesses stand out from the noise and reach customers when every other business is competing harder than Aunt Bertha does for that last piece of pie?  

Brands must first compete with a campaign that genuinely delights customers instead of contributing to the holiday noise. 

The key to a successful holiday marketing campaign is analyzing your brand and figuring out which strategy is a natural fit for your business and then implementing that strategy.

Let’s break down some great small business holiday marketing strategies:

  1. Find your brand’s unique holiday sweet spot
  2. Involve your customers
  3. Add holiday cheer to your site
  4. Dress up the unboxing experience
  5. Spread the joy all over your social channels

Find Your Brand’s Unique Holiday Sweet Spot

Uniqueness breaks through the holiday noise. It evokes emotion, often giving customers a warm feeling of nostalgia, tugging heartstrings, or making us chuckle.

A unique holiday campaign stays true to the brand’s values and connects it with the true meaning of Christmas – capturing themes of family, togetherness, and giving. You know what kind of brand you want to be, but do your customers? Consumers need to know what you stand for or you’re never going to rise above the holiday noise.

So, what does a brand’s holiday sweet spot look like?

Just google “Best Christmas Ads of All Time” and you will see how each brand beautifully displays their uniqueness.

One of my favorite brands that rose above the noise is a lottery company out in Spain.

In Spain, their Christmas lottery is a beloved tradition dating back to 1912. It has seen its fair share of campaigns throughout the years, but it wasn’t until 2015 that one of them hit viral status. Justino tells the story of a night shift guard at a mannequin factory and the day shift workers he doesn’t meet, but deeply desires to connect with. The story plays out and viewers fall in love with his character, but don’t worry, I won’t spoil the ending for you. It’s definitely one to watch.

So, what does this mean for brands? It means you must take the initiative and make your values clear. Seven out of ten millennials consider company values when making purchases. Whatever your brand’s values are, be sure to leverage them in your marketing this holiday season.

Involve Your Customers

Your customers are your biggest assets when it comes to authentic marketing, so why not involve them?

For as many marketing wins, there are just as many losses. Here are two popular brands with their hit and miss holiday tales:

Starbucks Holiday Involvement Win

What would holiday shopping be like without Starbucks signature Red Cups? For years now, Starbucks has launched a holiday campaign built around its iconic red cups, which are only available during the yuletide season.

One of their best marketing strategies occurred in 2016 when they let customers design their own red cups. Submissions were received from more than 1,200 customers stretching across six countries and resulting in 13 winning designs from customers around the world.

Their campaign was brilliant. It connected their signature red cup with their customers and gave them the power to impact the company, knowing that their designs could potentially win and be featured on cups that would be seen in over 25,000 stores in 75 countries.

Lesson Learned: Turn the tables and allow your customers to bring value to your brand.

Coca-Cola’s Lack of Involvement Holiday Fail

Back in 2011, the marketing gurus over at Coca-Cola decided to give their red cans of Coke a more festive look. Coke cans were changed to white and displayed in stores around the world. This was a disastrous holiday marketing mistake.

Their new packaging design confused and annoyed consumers who thought they were purchasing their beloved Diet Coke. To the gurus’ surprise, the company pulled their holiday design off the shelves two months early resulting in sky-rocketing revenue loss.

Lesson Learned: Involve your customers. They may see what you do not. Customer engagement most likely would have prevented Coca-Cola’s costly mistake.

Add Holiday Cheer to Your Site

It’s a good time to add some holiday cheer to your website. It creates the spirit of the holidays and gets potential customers into a festive mood, which makes them more likely to buy something while on your site. Consumers expect to see some holly jolly goodness when doing their online shopping.

Check out these ways to easily tailor your website:

  1. Spice up your website with festive graphics
  2. Change your website colors
  3. Use a countdown timer
  4. Decorate your logo
  5. Add holiday overlays to your photos
  6. Add a calendar widget to mark special days
  7. Use decorative font

Dress Up the Unboxing Experience

In a study done by Pregis and the University of Wisconsin, they found that packaging impacts consumer’s perception of product value by 45%. As retail continues to shift from brick and mortar locations to online, the unboxing experience in consumer’s homes is replacing the store experience.

It’s possible for your brand to bring the same excitement and anticipation to consumers by simply being intentional with your brand’s holiday packaging.  

Here’s how –

First, stay true to your brand while having fun with creating holiday packaging, but for the love of eggnog, please steer clear from using generic holiday imagery. It only dilutes your brand recognition and veers off course from your brand’s identity.

Second, don’t overdo it.                            

If you relate to Buddy the Elf, your accounting department probably appreciates you scaling your holiday cheer back a bit. The cost of customizing every element can quickly add up. More material equals more waste and today’s consumers are more attracted to sustainable packaging and products.

No one wants to see your brand’s holiday cheer end up in a landfill. Not even you.

Need some simple, easy ideas?

  1. Consider mailing out your products in branded boxes.
  2. Write handwritten notes to your customers.
  3. Give away free samples.  
  4. Add a QR code for downloadable coupons.
  5. Make your CTA big, bold, and easy to follow.
  6. Include a creative Postscript (P.S.) in your packaging material.

Just to name a few.

Spread the Joy All Over Your Social Channels

Social media holiday campaigns are a fantastic way to remind your consumers what your company stands for beyond the marketing jargon. You will need to plan your campaign in a way that takes advantage of the holiday season and connects it to your products in a seamless way across all social channels.

Holidays are about giving and sharing. You’ll likely gain the most traction with your social media holiday campaign if you create it to inspire your customers to give back to their communities.

Create a hashtag and encourage customers to post their stories. Be sure to feature their stories on your social media channels.

For our finished brand partners who use our NEM ingredient, one idea is starting a fun hashtag like #jinglethejoints or #joytothejoints. Encourage your audience to give your product to a friend or even a few bottles to their local gym this holiday season and post the why with a picture on social media. If you have a pet product, one way to encourage giving back is supplying animal shelters with your finished pet product.

Wrapping It Up

So, you may not have a large, marketing budget like Starbucks or Coca-Cola, but you can create a good amount of brand awareness and generate more sales this holiday season by executing the right holiday campaign that aligns with your company and products.

The key to success this holiday season is dependent upon giving your customers a memorable experience that will keep them coming back. How you choose to present your brand can be the difference between offering something unique or something they can purchase anywhere.

If you haven’t began preparing your company’s holiday campaign, there is no time like the present.