The exact date for putting up your Christmas tree is one of general debate. Whilst some prefer to mark December 1st as decoration day, others choose dates as early as November 1st and as late as December 13th - 12 days before Christmas to mark the start of getting into the festive spirit.
When it comes to marketing, getting your audience in the mood for the holiday is a job you prepare for months in advance, but it’s tricky to pin down the best time to launch. You don’t want to get lost in the throng of campaigns from your competitors, but you also don’t want to be that one brand that audiences roll their eyes at for coming in too soon with the holiday cheer.
If your brand is in its introductory year, then deciding when to start rolling out the red and green can seem daunting. One thing that is unspokenly agreed upon, however, is not beginning until Halloween is well and truly over - and maybe even Bonfire Night. You may see sharing tins and advent calendars sneak onto shelves in your local supermarket, but advertisements typically hold off until after October 31st, but even then it’s quite early.
You might get it wrong in your first year, and face some comments from your audience, but take it on as constructive criticism and consider coming in a few days later the following year. Don’t think of marketing at Christmas as an obligatory event. Yes, there is little originality left when marketing for the holiday, but you can still have an agenda, whether it’s meeting your annual quota or you truly want your audience to get into the spirit. Allow these internal insights to influence kicking off Christmas for your brand.
It can be tempting to talk about nothing else once all engines are a go for Christmas content, but if you choose to start as early as November 1st then that means seven weeks of snowmen, reindeer, mistletoe, tinsel and the holy trinity of Christmas colours - red, green and gold.
There is the risk of your campaign running stale if you haven’t given appropriate thought to the commitment of branding for Christmas. Celebrating the season isn’t a one-trick pony, there is a cornucopia of opportunity involved if you know how to get creative.
Christmas is a multifaceted event and so outline the different parts to the run-up to December 25th. From countdowns to competitions, see how your brand can maximise on content without compromising on quality by looking like you’ve used up all your ideas too quickly.
When planning a Christmas campaign, think long term, by that we mean not just for this year, but all of those merry Christmases to come. Christmas breeds tradition and if you create a timeless campaign that can be replicated year after year and still give your audience those Christmas warm and fuzzies then you’re set.
One of the greatest examples for this is the Coca-Cola Christmas advert. Some say their Christmas doesn’t start until they see the familiar red animated truck appear on their television screens. The brilliant thing about the Coca-Cola Christmas advert is its familiarity. It has born its own traditions and requires little more from the brand than to decide on a date and redistribute until they are ready to tweak.
Having a formattable Christmas campaign shouldn’t stop you from raising your game year after year, it just means that the biggest task - the general ideation and theme is done and dusted. This leaves you to think of ways to improve on a tried and tested system.
Unless you run social for or own a brand who promotes Christianity, then stick to focusing on the commercial message of Christmas.
Togetherness, generosity, food and presents make up the pillars of the holiday season. They are fundamentals that are able to be relished in, regardless of who you are, where you’re from or what you believe in.
Be inclusive. Everyone is taught at some stage that Christmas is about the birth of baby Jesus but for most of the world, although this knowledge is widely accepted, what you don’t want to end up doing is ostracizing an audience who support you for eleven months of the year, in one.
Yes, the nativity scene is often depicted across popular media, and can indeed enforce your Christmas campaign, but be careful when toeing the line between Christmas vibes, and making your targeted audience feel like you are imposing your views on them.
From December 26th the magic of the holidays are well and truly over. The embers of Christmas are kept lightly stoked, but they soon fade as Boxing Day Sales take precedence, New Years is planned for, and people rush home in time for normalcy to briefly resume on the 27th.
One of the most looked forward to events of the calendar year is over… well as soon as it’s over.
Branding for Christmas has a very specific agenda that there is little to negotiate on. It’s the same day every year and once the 26th rolls over to the 27th; well, your brand doesn’t want to be the only one caught in a Christmas jumper while everyone else is bringing in the New Year.
Ultimately the best thing to do when it comes to marketing for the holidays is to take into consideration three things; your content calendar, your audience and what’s happening in your social climate. This year is a great example of the latter, as with the second Lockdown, people are looking to add some cheer and have decided to embrace Christmas earlier than they normally would. Read your audience and respond with the appropriate amount of chestnuts to roast on an open fire.
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