Claire Wilson, Content Strategy Director at Stratton Craig offers some tips for brands on creating effective content marketing campaigns this Christmas season, with examples of successful festive campaigns by big brands.
Christmas is coming and, whilst we’re ready to beam and cringe in equal measure at festive adverts and campaigns, nothing makes us queasier than a blatant sales pitch for Christmas – or for Halloween, Easter and Valentine’s Day, for that matter. But nothing makes us warm and fuzzy inside than a well-timed pun too.
When it comes to content marketing, the goal should be more than to sell products and, at Christmas time, even more so. When done successfully, businesses are able to build a relationship with the customer because your content is helpful, meaningful and created based on what the audience is looking for.
Follow these three rules and you should be on your customers’ (and Santa’s!) nice list.
1) Be unique
The campaigns and marketing efforts of others shouldn’t be seen as the ‘best thing to do’ but, by all means, take inspiration from others’ achievements.
To be heard above all the other festive noise of other brands’ seasonal marketing, you have to be original. For example, Spotify’s #PlaylistPotluck campaign had brilliant success; it encouraged organisers of parties to ask attendees of add a song to the party playlist instead of bringing food or drink to the party. A helpful, clever and genuinely useful idea. Pret also stood out with a seasonal campaign by using Christmas to demonstrate its charitable endeavours of giving unsold food to the homeless.
Organise a brainstorm with your team and you’ll be surprised with what you’re able to come up with.
2) Ease the stress of your customers
This Christmas, why not use your content marketing efforts to help your customers out? And, by that, we don’t mean blatant attempts at selling your products to them. Instead, be genuinely helpful.
This rule focuses on the customer, not your business. With this in mind, you’re able to create real value. For example, Boots’ gift guide has genuinely helpful ideas for the people most of us buy gifts for every year.
A very basic example of offering something to your customers that will provide them with something useful is making your opening hours clear. Opening times around this period can vary between businesses so, by making yours obvious, you’ll be assisting your customers greatly. Ideally, though, you’ll want to dig deeper; perhaps share festive recipes or provide a service to help your clients or customers get organised around Christmas – brainstorm into what will work best for your brand.
3) Keep it short and simple
We all know some brands that hugely benefit from Christmas campaigns (ahem – John Lewis) – and these tend to be consumer and retail brands. Big, festive campaigns are their thing.
But this doesn’t mean that simple campaigns can’t be equally as successful. Look at Starbucks for example, their Christmas campaign is much more straightforward – new festive flavours and a highly anticipated Christmas cup design spreads the cheer. And really, what else do we need from a Christmas campaign?
Be festive and draw on what your customers enjoy and your marketing efforts will be effective. It could even be as simple as adding a few festive visuals to your website, social media or marketing materials. Just be sure to keep your brand’s image in mind to make sure you don’t cause any backlash.
It’s also worth mentioning that isn’t compulsory for brands to do any content marketing around the Christmas period; if you don’t think you’ll be able to do it well, don’t do it at all. Instead, perhaps focus on creating content for one or two other holidays that are more relevant to your brand and values.
By Claire Wilson
Content Strategy Director