The holiday season is possibly one of the most significant of the year for marketing and branding specialists. Unfortunately, the increasing commercialization of the holidays often leads to over-aggressive marketing that seeks to take advantage of shopping developments such as Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other shopping extravaganzas.
Avoiding Marketing Intrusion During the Holidays
One of the problems with holiday marketing emanates from focusing too much on the direct response method. There is a marked tendency towards competition between retailers who choose price discounts and special offers as their promotional weapons of choice. Naturally, shoppers enjoy good deals during the holiday season, but what about creativity?
When discounts and special offers are overused, they become intrusive and are bound to cause a loss of interest among consumers. Repetitive banner ads and constant radio spots can only go so far. The holiday season has been proven to be excellent for the purpose of establishing brand loyalty, and this requires the ancient art of storytelling.
Finding Maximum Value with Brand Stories
The popular “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” marketing campaign by Apple is a great example of effective branding by means of storytelling. With a little whimsy and an engaging story, Apple achieved brand loyalty that could be adjusted to various occasions and seasons.
Advertising that tells a story is most effective during the holidays. This is the season to feel good on a personal, familial and spiritual level, which can be tapped with the right amount of creativity and storytelling. The value of a holiday campaign can be maximized by creating brand awareness, which tends to have a more lasting effect than direct-response and discounts. The idea is to create this awareness from early on. Even something as simple as creating a holiday specific video from the face of your company, could provide huge results.
The Holidays and the Customer Decision Process
The main ingredients of branding during the holiday season are engagement and motif. The approach should be interactive; to this end, marketers often rely on appropriate content. Articles that tell stories about the holidays should have an overall tone of goodwill. For example, an online electronics retailer may feature a current or previous charitable endeavor that ties in with the holidays. A commitment to make a donation from profits earned during the holidays can be articulated with appropriate text, appealing graphics and supporting photos.
Another idea for marketers during the holidays is to feature playful items. An example of this would be to offer a holiday-themed app, preferably a game or a series of fun quizzes. It is important to remember that many shoppers are bound to be on vacation, and thus they have more time to engage in recreational pursuits.