This is a guest post by Lexie Lu of Design Roast.
Seasonal branding is one of those things that businesses don’t always think about until the holidays are almost here. For most businesses, seasonal spikes are normal, but you can take advantage of those spikes to up your annual revenue each year, learning from successes and mistakes as each holiday passes.
Retail eCommerce holiday sales alone are more than 80 billion each year. Tapping into this huge base takes forethought and consideration. If you want a successful holiday season, now is the time to invest in seasonal branding. Here are eight seasonal branding techniques to start with:
1. Know Who You Are as a Brand
Before you invest in any branding technique, take the time to know yourself as a brand. What is your overreaching message? Just because you’re focusing on seasonal advertising doesn’t mean that you forget the underlying core of who you are and what you stand for. Any seasonal branding must fit in with your overall branding message.
2. Offer a Gift Guide
If you’re like most marketers, you’ve spent a lot of time researching your core audience. Once you know who your site visitors are, you know what they need. Offer them gift giving guides to make their holiday shopping easier. Ideally, these gift giving guides will work year-round for all matter of occasions.
Goop magazine offers a holiday gift guide that is detailed enough to meet the needs of any gift giving need. Note the different categories to meet the different types of gifts people might give, such as the gift guide for hosts, the under-18 gift guide and the personalized gift guide.
3. Engage Your Fans
The holidays are a hectic time for many people. On top of juggling work and family life, people have to find time to go shopping for gifts, plan parties and attend any number of events. It’s easy for people to feel overwhelmed, so anything you can offer that gives them a break from the same old holiday marketing they’re used to seeing captures their attention.
Engage your fans by having your audience create their own video content to celebrate the holiday season. Feature their videos on your social media channels. Ask them to upload their favorite holiday memory photos and use a specific hashtag. Show them you care about what they care about.
4. Update Older Content
Seasonal content tends to get outdated quickly thanks to ever-changing trends. Last year’s gift giving guide has last year’s prices and features. Instead, update your gift guides and other seasonal content each year. You can still add new content, but recheck older posts and images and see what you can freshen up for your site visitors or social media followers.
5. Sell Winter Items in the Summer and Fall
Experts point out that the best time to sell winter items, such as a vacation, is in the summer and fall. People tend to plan for bigger purchases in particular, so running specials for those who want to get their planning out of the way early is a smart idea. Even if your item is more immediate, you should capture a few extra sales by offering a special early in the season.
Apple Vacations features winter vacation deals. Note how they say to book by the end of August for the best prices. Booking in advance allows the customer to get the best deal possible while still allowing the travel agency to bring in additional business.
6. Connect With Your Customers
Seasonal branding is a great time to connect with your customers. Think about the memories you have of the holidays. What made them special? Were there any traditions you had that a lot of other people had?
Use social media and ask your customers to share their unique holiday traditions. Encourage them to talk. For example, post a unique tradition and photo of one of your customers and ask if anyone does this for the holidays?
7. Tell a Story
Storytelling is a powerful way to promote your brand. People love good stories and the holidays are a great time to share heartwarming ones. Think about brands you know who do this already. Starbucks always releases holiday-themed cups, and there’s a story of a young girl who passed away, and her parents ask that so many pumpkin spice lattes get handed out in her memory, paying for them in advance.
Figure out how to tell a story that resonates with your typical user. What do they care about? What do you care about? If you don’t have stories, ask your customers to share their genuine stories involving your brand. You might even want to run a contest for the best story.
8. Prepare Early
Prepare for seasonal branding as early as summer to stay ahead of the curve. Think about it like this — you’ve reached the end of a long year of marketing and growing your business. Suddenly, Black Friday is almost here, and you realize you haven’t done a thing toward holiday marketing. You rush to get some things in place, but you’re completely exhausted. You also have your own busy holiday schedule to keep up with. You naturally forget some key points you wanted to hit, and you know your branding isn’t as great as it should be this holiday season, but you’re doing the best you can.
Now, imagine a different scenario. You plan a little at a time well before any holiday. You don’t forget a single important element of your marketing. You finally connect with your customers on a level you always dreamed of. You have time to review how different tactics went and make changes for the next season. Start preparing now!
Seasonal Branding Is Worth the Effort
While all your focus can’t be on branding for a single holiday, it is worth the effort to focus on holiday branding at least some of the time. People spend more money during the holidays, so tap into that market and up your overall profits.
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