Branding Your Business for the 2018 Holiday Season
While branding is something you should work on year-round, the fourth quarter is a great time to make sure your marketing aligns with your overall business goals.
The image you present to the world is one that tends to stick with your company for a long time to come. It’s worth taking the time to think through how you want to present your brand.
One of the reasons it’s so important to figure out your overall branding message, whether you’re getting the word out for the holidays or any other time of year, is because 90 percent of consumers want a brand to be similar across multiple platforms. Each experience the consumer has with you should mark your specific branding.
Here are 12 ideas for how to brand your business as the year comes to a close:
1. Reward Loyalty
The holidays are a great time to remind people why they love your brand. Think about the most iconic product you offer and send a special holiday version to your top customers. These are those who purchase regularly and also those who refer a lot of business to you. It would help if you rewarded both types of customers, because they are valuable in different but important ways.
2. Tap Into Alternatives
People are busy during the holidays. From Thanksgiving until Christmas, there is party after party and event after event. In between all that, many people work extra jobs and try to find time to shop for gifts. You’ve likely heard at least one person say they don’t like the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Why not tap into that sentiment and offer an alternative to expensive gifts and crazy party planning?
The National Park Foundation offers a campaign encouraging people to visit a national park for the holidays with their #OptOutside campaign. It suggests families start a new holiday tradition in the great outdoors.
3. Ask for Referrals
‘Tis the season to give to others. At this time of year, people are much more likely to want to help out. Send out details about your brand and ask that people share what they like about your company with others. Tie referrals into rewards. Create holiday specials only for your customers and allow them to share with another person of their choosing. Consumers who are referred to a brand by someone they know are 18 percent more loyal to it.
4. Get Sentimental
People tend to feel more sentimental during the holidays. Ads that add an emotional sentiment are received 50 percent better by people. The holidays are a particularly emotional time, filled with memories. Find a way to tap into that sentimentality and you’re likely to win new customers and set your brand in their memories.
EDEKA created this emotional video about missing loved ones during the holidays and having trouble finding the time to visit. The impact of such an emotional video drives customers to look at the company who made the video and take action in their own lives to visit with those they love.
5. Support a Cause
The last quarter of the year is a great time to throw your weight behind a worthy cause. You can gain a tax deduction and help an organization you believe in. Don’t just choose any cause. Choose a charity that ties into what you believe in as a brand. Others who believe in that same cause are more likely to do business with you. Philanthropy shows you care about more than just making a profit and helps define your brand.
6. Bundle Your Iconic Products
Are there some products that define your brand? Bundle them together into holiday packages and promote them for gift-giving or celebrating special occasions that occur during the fourth quarter. If you sell candy, you might create a Halloween basket bundle filled with your most popular candies, for example.
Dollar Shave Club offered a DSC holiday shave set at Christmas, touting it as the perfect present. The set included some of its most popular products, and advertising centered on both the brand and holiday themes.
7. Know Your Target Audience
You’ve likely heard that you need to know your target audience over and over again, but this also applies to end-of-year marketing. If you don’t know your audience, then it’s hard to understand what they’re up to in quarter four. For example, if most of your customers are soccer moms, you can guess that they’re busy during the holidays going to class parties at their children’s school and shopping for gifts. You can adjust your branding to reach them on their level.
8. Offer Special Packaging
As people get into the holiday spirit, they want to experience all the things that remind them of the holidays. In the fall, pumpkin spice everything is available. Hot cocoa and peppermint take over the Christmas season. Think about the different ways you can package your products to touch on those whimsical holiday desires.
Krispy Kreme offers special doughnuts for various holidays. There have been times when it offers a doughnut for one day only. Limited time is a brilliant branding move that drives sales to the store on that day and makes doughnuts from their stores even more desirable.
9. Offer Free Shipping
Last year, online shopping was up 18.3 percent on Thanksgiving, 16.9 percent on Black Friday, 10.8 percent on Small Business Saturday and 16.8 percent on Cyber Monday. Across all those sectors, online shopping increased from the previous year. People want to shop online, but you have to give them a reason to buy your brand. Free shipping is one way to draw them to your site. If you’re worried about losing money on small sales, you can offer free shipping with a $50 purchase or whatever amount you set.
10. Play With Your Logo
Have you ever noticed how often Google changes up its logo? The letters are essentially the same basic type, but from there, the logo changes. At Christmas, it might add a snowman peeking out from behind a letter. On Thanksgiving, it might add some pilgrims. Clicking on the logo takes the user to a page that talks about pilgrims. The offerings vary. You can do something similar while still keeping the same general look of your logo and creating a strong brand image.
11. Police Your Brand Name
The end of the year is a good time to review how well your brand name is holding up. Take the time to do a Google search. Go to review sites and look for one-star reviews. Does the reviewer have a valid concern? How can you fix the problem? Spend time decluttering your brand and looking at things that need to change for the new year.
12. Plan First-Quarter Marketing
The best branding move you can make in the final quarter of the year is planning your marketing for the first quarter of next year. Having a plan already in place allows you to hit the ground running instead of wasting precious time in the planning stages.
While end-of-year branding is important, branding is something you need to focus on all year. The best way to successfully brand your business is to look ahead for what events and milestones are coming and plan marketing accordingly. Of course, all marketing and promotions need to fit within the overall image and message of your brand.