Everyone is familiar with the traditional work slow-down around the holidays, so why not flip the script and put the holidays to work for you? The annual calendar is scattered with essential days of historical and cultural significance. Rather than let them pass idly by, leverage holidays to your benefit by deploying aptly-timed company messaging. While there’s a bevy of stats outlining the boost in consumer engagement around the holiday season, it’s up to each brand to reap the rewards of this engagement by driving action. The best way to do that? Producing and deploying holiday marketing campaigns that take the following points into account:

  1. Create tradition to cement anticipation.
  2. Humanize your brand by supporting issues consumers care about.
  3. Deploy ads early to one-up competitors.
Tradition = Anticipation

Creating meaningful holiday traditions includes more than just black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day or latkes during Hanukah. Brands can participate in creating and continuing traditions of their own as well. When it comes to holiday messaging, Starbucks is the crème of the crop. Despite their usual host of ingenious marketing tactics, their example of a brand tradition is quite simple.

It’s just a cup.

Released in early November of each year, this tradition is one that customers have grown accustomed to. By cementing traditions around a particular time of year, you allow consumers to establish a sense of trust in your brand. Buyers know that something is in the works, and they trust in the brand to deliver on their promise. This sense of trust reveals another positive effect of tradition: anticipation. Each year, customers eagerly await the unveiling of how Starbucks will make this year’s holiday cups bolder and better. Is there any greater compliment than consumers awaiting your brand’s marketing? Not as far as we’re concerned.

Starbucks’ solid red holiday cups are shown. This iteration of the brand’s tradition garnered backlash from many consumers.

Furthermore, by releasing these cups in early November of each year, Starbucks allows for plenty of time to derive resulting value. By announcing this date well in advance, Starbucks sets themselves up for success through the generation of tentpole analytics (i.e. the media garnered before and after a notable event or release). Fans of the brand engage prior to the debut by expressing anticipation, just as they impart their opinions after the cup is revealed. This phenomenon can serve as the “X factor,” propelling marketing campaigns into next level engagement.

While the PR might not always be positive, (throwback to those problematic solid red cups) it is an absolute juggernaut for hoarding media and social impressions. Those controversial red cups helped Starbucks’ 2015 Q4 profits rise by 11.9% from the previous year. Come 2016, December profits alone rose over 12 percent. This jump proves that deploying holiday marketing before the deadline fortuitously affects the bottom line.

Be The Santa Clause of an Important Social Cause

Holidays are the high points of the annual calendar. They serve as hitches for companies to latch onto, leading down a path of increased engagement and added impressions. By latching onto these notable days, however, brands can do more than just reap the financial rewards. Holidays can serve as the impetus for companies to align themselves with the things that matter to their target market.

In today’s atmosphere of political correctness, brands are finding that advertising and social good go hand in hand. The support of topical social issues can not only paint a brand in a positive light but also furnish support from broader demographics. In addition to the impact that this support can make, the affected demographics can also be segued into customers. When prospects feel that a brand supports a cause close to their hearts, they are significantly more likely to enter into the buying process.

Pride Month, for instance, is a ubiquitous example of brands leveraging notable holidays. Throughout June, few companies laid claim to social media accounts unadorned with rainbow flags and pro-inclusivity messaging. Some brands even hosted floats in the summer’s numerous pride parades. While lending support to a cause like this shows backing for a key human rights issue, it also generates positive PR for these companies. It’s an easy way to score points for your company, which can also lead to scores of more customers.

Salesforce takes to the streets to celebrate #Pride as part of the various nation-wide pride parades.
Achieve a Leg Up on Competitors

Perhaps 2018’s most impactful marketing video was Apple’s holiday ad. Using creative animation to highlight the importance of sharing one’s gifts (i.e. talents) via Apple products, the ad resonated with viewers across platforms and demographics. Another notable fact about this ad? It was released on November 20th, a full month before the Christmas holiday.

Apple’s 2018 Holiday ad was incredibly received. Scoring rave impressions from viewers and fans alike.

A common mistake made by marketers is releasing holiday programming on the actual day-of. By waiting until the last minute, messaging runs the risk of getting lost in the overflow of branded content and superfluous holiday hashtags. Like a fine wine, releasing holiday marketing well in advance grants the ad time to breathe, and space to garner impressions.

DHD Films’ 2018 Holiday ad took a more generic approach as well, seeking to appeal to viewers of all religions and cultures.
Clear Your Professional Plate (and Fill Up Your Holiday One)

By proactively planning holiday marketing campaigns in advance, marketers can set themselves up for both success and peace of mind. Concept and strategize video campaigns before you get overtaken by the holiday hustle and bustle. Whether your focus is Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, or all of the above, get your holiday marketing on the books early to secure premium results.