The weather outside is frightful, the days become shorter and the nights longer. We are all longing for a white Christmas to arrive soon. With the holiday sphere in mind, companies will compete in Christmas advertisements, hoping for our hearts to melt. Advertisements who are forcing us to ride the emotional roller coaster, so we will associate their values with the holiday spirit. We are all familiar with the Christmas commercials of Coca Cola, John Lewis and M&S. All socially orientated, giving back to the world and their costumers. But does it truly help your company to engage in the Christmas atmosphere? If so, what is the effect?
A couple of weeks ago around the beginning of November, John Lewis, a famous department store chain from the United Kingdom, launched a new Christmas campaign. The campaign that enlightens the friendship between a young boy and a penguin, went viral within days. The hashtag #MontythePenguin was used over 200,283 times in three weeks. The advertisement was viewed 7 million in the first 24 hours.
“John Lewis and M&S are demonstrating how to create an integrated campaign which may lead at first through above-the-line, but which soon has digital at its heart, going beyond the initial splash to maintain ongoing dialogue,” says Waggener Edstrom.
John Lewis has done an excellent job in producing an emotional commercial that makes people want to engage with the department store. Even though it does not sell its products in anyway, it does reflect the companies image and values. It shows the company is trustworthy, cares for and about his customers. When taking a close look to the campaign, it is quite inspiring. It does not cover any hidden product placement, nor does it force or persuade one to buy a certain product. The overall sphere is relaxing, warm and romantic. Another well done Christmas marketing stunt has been Elf Yourself by OfficeMax has been a hit since it first launched in 2006.
Why do companies engage so much during the holidays?
Nielsen predicts that companies will spend 2% less on Christmas advertisement than in 2013. Hence, this has to do with the engagement in holiday atmosphere’s via social media. This free PR tool, is one of the utmost important tools to interact and connect with your (potential) customers. Sharing your values and predictions with them, has become so easy. When taking John Lewis as an example again; the department store chain has started to engage their Christmas campaign with social media since 2011. At that time, social media were rapidly evolving and becoming more and more important marketing tool for companies. John Lewis has been a great example to many retailers worldwide, and has therefore been closely watched. Even though Coca Cola does create a warm and anticipation, it does not trigger all the values John Lewis shows.
Sales increase immensely during the holidays, that is a common fact. Hence, it is important to actively engage for your company to increase your attractiveness and likeliness. It is overall known that companies spend the most money on advertisements in the last quarter of the year, trying to influence the buying behavior of their customers. But since social media took control in 2011, it has become even more important for companies to engage fully, and everywhere. How great a television commercial is, it does not have its full effect when it is not shared via the several social media platforms of the company. This way customers and brand loyal can engage. Facebook, for example, makes a great key performance indicator during the holidays, because it does not only show the reach and the number of views, it is also telling you if people liked the commercial or if they even shared it with their friends.
How to increase your visibility during the holidays
During the holidays it is even more important to be visible to your customers. It is that time when most presents are bought and sales go up. Therefore, some tips that might help increase your visibility and by that your sales.
Plan everything ahead and research the most important dates for your company. When done, plan emails and social media messages carefully. There are three very important moments in the social media traffic. Pre-holiday, during the holiday and after the holiday. Take the before and after part just as serious as during the holidays. This way you get more chance to increase your visibility. People will notice you and take you into account when buying presents. Nevertheless, it is also extremely important for non-profit organizations, to create even more engagement with your clients.
Include the holiday atmosphere in all your messages
Brands that do not send out the occasional Santa Clause or a Christmas tree are completely missing the point and will most likely fail.
Be social, act social
Being social is even more important during the Christmas holiday than it is throughout the year. No other holiday values so much love, friendship, caring and sharing. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that companies interact with their customers. When making revenue it is a wonderful opportunity to donate some money to charity, so your consumers know you care about the world and not just the company itself It is very important that the company values and image interfere with what you are pretending to be.
Make it personal Send out holiday emails, to wish them a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Whilst doing so, make sure the email is addressed personally, include names and so on. A survey or any other kind of research to ask for customer feedback, might get to feel them special.
Show appreciation Let your relations know how thankful you are for them. Sending out thank you notes is definitely a must. Goodie bags, gift bags or any form of a present is more than welcome. A donation could also be a possibility.
The do’s and don’t of holiday marketing
Target your target audience Do not include people who you don’t wish to target. Make your message appealing. This is not the time to experiment.
Start dialogues Interaction is the key, get to know them a little better by asking questions.
Design a campaign around the holiday, post something on special days, but also send out valuable content or even special offers. Design an advent calender for example.
Do not over advertise Nobody wants to receive 4 messages a day from the same company. Know your customers and what they appreciate.
General information As stated earlier only focus on your target audience, and most likely they already know your ins and outs.
When conducting holiday marketing, one must keep their audience in mind and whatever they appreciate. Show your appreciation to not only your customers, but to your relations as well. This will definitely keep them satisfied doing business with your company. Link all media together, television advertisements with social media, to get the KPI clear. John Lewis has one of the best holiday marketing is a company has ever reached. Take them as an example when conducting yours. Do not focus to much on selling products, but rather on the companies values and image. Do not hesitate to spend money, this is the time to get your customers loyal or get them to stay loyal by showing them your appreciation. Sharing is caring, show that the company is not only concerned about itself, but about the world around it as well, make donations.