Whether you run a startup, a mid-size consumer product company, or another kind of successfully growing brand, you know how competitive the holiday season gets. Here are three tips to making your brand stand out during the holiday season.
1. Give Back
The holidays are about giving, but what good is it to only give to those who have? If you want to go the extra mile, why not allocate a portion of your profits to a worthy cause or nonprofit?
But you’re a business. Why would you give to a nonprofit? First of all, it’s a good thing to do. If your company is making enough money, it’s an altruistically good thing. Second, it shows that your company cares about something other than your bottom line. Third, and while this won’t be as important to your customers as it will be to future brand partners and shareholders, it sets a tone of abundance and shows that you’re the kind of company that cares about doing something positive in the world. A lot of companies talk this talk, but not many walk it.
Choose a nonprofit that aligns with your company’s brand and philosophy (Guidestar can be helpful for this). It can be local or national, specific or broad; it depends on the reach of your company. Coordinate ahead of time with the nonprofit and make sure you have permission to talk about them and their cause in your messaging. Be sure to include relevant links for customers to go above and beyond in their individual giving. This will also help the nonprofit’s SEO.
You don’t need a press release about “just this” as that would sound braggadocious, but be sure to mention this where appropriate on your “About” page, on social, and at the end of email campaigns.
2. Show Up In Multiple Places
From a brand communications standpoint, one ad campaign for the holidays won’t be enough, and neither will “one review” (even if it is from that major tech reviewer that everyone loves).
No. The holidays are about the appearance of “being everywhere” for your brand. Family products need to be in mommy blogs, parenting magazines, and the occasional call-in drive-time radio show or podcast. Tech products need to cater to more than just “tech reviewers.” Educational products need to do more than a one-time ad buy in a major website. This is the time to find business allies and get in their newsletters. Run social cross promotions with complementary companies. Offer yourself as an expert for interview to media. Get creative. Get saturated.
3. Get Creative and Have Fun within the Scope of Your Brand
Really dig into something fun about your product, or at least the benefit of your product, and drag that out into the light. Showcase something memorable in your ad campaigns. Make it funny. Make it ridiculous (within reason). Make it warm and fuzzy, or as much as you can get away with. Run these ideas on test audiences and get feedback before going live, and then go for it.
4. Launch a Giveaway
People love contests, especially if they have a chance of winning something good. Pick a grand prize to give away. Ideally it will be one of your company’s products or something product-related that is stand-alone and substantial that your target audience will want. Make it sticky. Make it social. Make it something that people can enter multiple times if they buy multiple products.
5. Incorporate Inclusive Messaging
Not everyone celebrates the same holidays (that would be boring). And even for those that do, they don’t all do it in the exact same ways. So why would your brand’s messaging only talk about “one holiday?”
Diversify your holiday messaging to reflect this. You probably don’t have to overhaul your entire messaging plan, but re-read it with a fresh pair of eyes and ask yourself, “If I didn’t celebrate this exact holiday, would I still feel like buying this product?”
People want to feel included. Give them that opportunity, and they’ll be more likely to return as a customer.
Jennifer L. Jacobson is a creator and communications strategist who helps brands advance in growing industries. Her clients have been on The View, The Today Show, in TIME Magazine’s best site of the year, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Popular Science, Scientific American, USA Today, and thousands more.