We’re big fans of the John Lewis Christmas Advert – who isn’t? We’d argue 2015’s ‘Man on the Moon’ is storytelling at its best, but this year’s ‘Beginner’ sparked a smile (and tear) or two in the office, too. Our own attempts at skateboarding have been as unsuccessful as the man with the broken wrist. Curious? See, the annual spate of Christmas ads are certainly a conversation starter. So why don’t more SMEs incorporate the festive season into their respective marketing strategies?
We’ve pulled together five reasons why all brands should give a nod to Christmas in the coming weeks, and some tips on how to do it well.
Connect with your customer
Christmas crackers, carol concerts, classic Christmas movies – these are a few of the most festive things, and help to get us in the spirit, don’t they? Giving them a nod within your company communications helps your customers to mentally place your company, and its people, within their lives and homes.
We’re sure this is what Marks and Spencer aimed for with its latest Christmas advert, showing us intimate family moments transforming into a collective street party. The proof is in the (Christmas) pudding, because you can bet we’ll be getting ours – and more of our party preparations – from M&S.
Make your presence more… present
Syncing your marketing calendar with important dates in your customers’ diary – maybe the most important date – aligns your message with events that give their lives meaning. Acknowledging Christmas shows you’re keeping up with what’s happening and shows you are current, and in-demand.
Look how Happy Socks repackages its year-round gifting boxes into seasonal messaging. It makes a familiar product feel shiny and new again. Even if it’s a little predictable (as predictable as finding them in our stocking, again, this year), it’s the kind of predictability we meet with happy anticipation as we discover 2022’s designs.
Speak to an open audience
It’ll take more than a cost-of-living crisis to swerve December’s disproportionate spending. After all, just last year, while rallying against the impact of the pandemic, the UK recorded its highest-ever Christmas retail sales.
And with 61% of shoppers hunting online for gifting suggestions, now’s the time to get your preferred products or services onto those digital gift lists in time for the big day*.
We’re not suggesting you ignore the cost-of-living crisis, though. In the season of giving, it reflects well to be sympathetic to the times. Generosity in the form of social competitions, free samples or even support for a local charity are simple ways of acknowledging adversity and demonstrating your humanity and character. This is true, too, if your customers are other businesses. A show of gratitude (personalised Christmas greetings) or generosity (a free add-on) may secure your place on their own wish list as they re-evaluate their suppliers and partners for the start of 2023.
Show you care
Our hearts go out to those who struggle during Christmas, so it’s nice to see charitable initiatives take centre stage in this year’s Christmas marketing. Giving back to those in need is a meaningful way to highlight shared values, and invites your customers to do good alongside you.
Did you know 49% of 18-44 year olds now prioritise charity donations over gifting? Brands like John Lewis definitely have their finger on this collective pulse*. Its emotional advert this year pays tribute to children in care and partners with Action for Children and Who Cares? Scotland. Forging your own local or national charity alliance shows you care about people and communities more than your bottom line.
Emphasise your ethos
Unsurprisingly, sustainable practices are front and centre of this year’s festive campaigns. If tackling climate change is important to your company, then your mission will resonate with the 50% of shoppers who prefer to buy Christmas gifts from eco-conscious brands*. If you haven’t seen it, prepare to be charmed by Barbour’s ‘One of a Kind-ness’ Christmas ad, featuring Paddington Bear and a unique, up-cycled jacket.
Ample evidence, we think, that showing up as a kind, community-focused and conscientious brand will go a long way in the days and weeks of Christmas marketing to come.