Building those relationships effectively is not as simple as releasing a Christmas ad that makes viewers feel warm and fuzzy, although this is important. Customers are living in hugely different realities depending on whether they live in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, whether they have vulnerable relatives and which tier they live in. This geographical difference is compounded by personal confidence in going out and about. There is no one size-fits-all approach this year. It isn’t enough to plan an ad campaign that provides blanket holiday branding; it needs to go deeper into the consumer psyche. The evolving nature of the pandemic and political moments like Brexit on the horizon are shifting consumer emotions constantly and how they feel now might not be how they feel come 25th December.
Your holiday comms therefore need to be responsive. By playing on your Christmas ad campaign with a wider, more agile strategy, brands can adapt to these changes quickly. After all, a Christmas ad is more than just an ad; it’s a statement of who you are, what your values are, and what you mean to customers at the end of a hard year so, your strategy needs to reflect this.
But be empathetic too
In a year driven by fear and confusion, empathy is critical. Consumers have expected a lot from their customer service, wanting it imbued with sympathy and understanding for what we are all going through. This is coming through in the ads we’re seeing released and I’m sure this was a consideration high on any brand-side boardroom discussion. However, this messaging needs to be supported across all other comms platforms, particularly where contact is direct. Exemplifying this understanding of the consumer means entering their world.
More than ever this year, brands have begun to realise this. Take John Lewis. Its understanding of the consumer has meant it has excelled at marrying traditional and digital channels together. The recent launch of its At Home TV campaign was simply the trunk of a communication strategy from which many branches grew. Understanding the shift to home working and the threat of lockdown has made homes increasingly mean more to us now than ever before; they supported their TV storytelling format by translating it across all communication elements. From direct email marketing and the development of a print publication around home goods to social media advertisement, John Lewis was able to widen its marketing ecosystem to all locations where consumers are increasingly looking for inspiration.
But it can’t simply be about placing your ad down within these mediums, as John Lewis knows with the viewing figures for this year’s festive offering being down substantially. If anything, it’s shown that brands need to work harder at Christmas comms outside of the ad as it’s not enough to solely rely on it.