If you live somewhere with a serious winter, you may think of the holiday season as officially commencing with the first delicate snowfall. Further signs of the approaching season include the leaves changing their color, frost forming on your windowsill, a sudden spike in crisp evenings spent by the fireplace, and other cozy demarcation. Pumpkins are carved. Candy canes are unpeeled from their sticky plastic. And for the next three months, all is festive and bright.
But for those of us in warmer climates, the true signs that the holiday season is nearly here come from our favorite brands. Whether it’s a peppermint latte at our local coffee shop or a glittering stack of (fake) presents on display in a department store window, every marketer knows that the holiday season is a once-a-year opportunity to promote, engage, and convert at an extremely elevated level. For video content marketers this is especially true, with thousands of brands competing for a slice of the estimated 65.5 billion dollars that will be spent shopping in December alone.
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Unlike traditional retail marketing, your brand should not feel limited to a snowflake decal made of hand-cut tissue paper. There are infinite creative possibilities to approach the holiday season with, so how can you decide which one is right for you? Here are just a few tips to keep in mind as we head into autumn that will help you create the strongest possible holiday-centric content.
Plan in Advance
One of the biggest benefits of the holiday season is how orderly and consistent it can be when compared with the rest of the year. Unlike other seasons, during the holidays your brand is able to devise complex strategies based around predetermined dates months in advance, without the fear that a major event might suddenly fall through. After all, what are they going to do? Cancel Christmas? Or push back Halloween a couple days?
But remember, knowing particular dates and events to focus on is just one fraction of the real work that comes next. The bigger the holiday, the bigger the chance that your brand might somehow make a mistake…and even a tiny slip can snowball into a PR disaster.
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That’s why you should take advantage of your seasonal calendar to bake in extra time for conceptualizing, reviewing, and editing your holiday content. It’s like that old brick-and-mortar adage: “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.” Don’t look at the consistency of the holiday schedule as a reason to do less work, but as an amazing opportunity to go above and beyond what you would have time for otherwise.
Also, don’t forget to take every holiday into account when you make your schedule. Depending on the demographics and populations that your brand is targeting, schedule a content rollout that genuinely speaks to a diverse array of faiths and traditions. This isn’t just the time of year for Thanksgiving, after all, but for Diwali too!
Once your schedule is in place, it’s time to take advantage of it. Optimizing your content for the holidays means utilizing a thorough, cross-platform approach to major seasonal milestones. Any brand can shoot off a quick, innocuous “Happy New Year!” Instagram post without causing too much of a stir, but only the very best will conceive a consistent visual style and expertly integrate it across multiple channels.
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Your first step should be to create a specific style guide for your brand to use during the entire holiday season. Because so many different holidays will be arriving almost back-to-back, your marketing team needs to balance celebrating each one in turn with a unified conceptual approach and–of course–your general brand aesthetic. This means that whatever your brand decides to try, every piece of content published needs to fit with the ones before it, while still serving the overall goals of the company.
Maybe that means deciding on a new palette of autumnal colors to complement your brand’s established set, or designing stylistically-similar graphics of snowmen, pumpkins, champagne bottles, etc. that can be used to intuitively identify holiday content. Maybe it means changing your music or your voice-over. As long as the end results are consistent and don’t disrupt the look or feel of your brand, you’re on your way to success.
Now that you’ve thought through how you want to create your holiday content, it’s time to decide what exactly that content is. The holiday season isn’t just a chance for cosmetic updates to your existing content; it’s a time of year when you can explore conceptually different types of content altogether. They’re a great opportunity for brands to cut loose and have some fun – to try a little more sincerity or silliness than your usual brand persona allows. Take advantage of this cultural leeway to experiment with new ideas, while still leaning into the spirit of the season.
For example, with holiday content you can target more localized audiences that you might think to otherwise. Check out holiday-based events, like New York City’s legendary SantaCon, where groups of interested individuals can benefit from your product or services. Share their photo and video content to generate a sense of community, then establish your brand as an essential part of their holiday experience. This is a great way to promote sales or other time-sensitive retail opportunities for an audience that you already know is passionate about the holidays.
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Because the holiday season takes place at the end of the year, it’s also the perfect moment for you to create content that looks back on the past 12 months. Reach out and thank your loyal customers for supporting you throughout the year, while also gearing them up for whatever your brand has planned next. This is already a time of transitions, which means that you can connect with potential audiences far more organically than the rest of the year. Many of them are looking to make significant changes in their lives (and spending habits) this time of year, so meet these enthusiastic leads halfway with a welcoming embrace.
Holly Jolly Holidays
As you create your seasonal content, don’t be afraid to emphasize traditional holiday sentiments like nostalgia, friendship, love, and joy. Use this time of year to bring all of the values that should already be at the core of your company, from generosity to compassion, to its forefront. Video content is one of the best ways to do so, but the potential is truly endless, as long as you know what you want and actively pursue it.
Also, no matter what holiday you choose to celebrate–if you celebrate in the first place–keep in mind that their central principle is always one of radical kindness. Make that your guiding light, and kindness will be returned to you. After all, ‘tis the season! So give the people what they want with an added dash of auld lang syne.