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Date: 22 December 2016 | Time: 15:57

Creativity at Christmas

Christmas impacts all of our lives, from the amount we spend to the adverts we watch, and it is no different for businesses.

Christmas impacts all of our lives, from the amount we spend to the adverts we watch, and it is no different for businesses. In fact, Christmas is a key period for brands everywhere. It is an ideal time to connect, reconnect and engage with both your target audience and existing customer base.

With so much at stake, organisations seek to differentiate their proposition during this time to stand out from the crowd. Increasingly, brands seek to become ‘storytellers’ to show that they are current, inclusive, active and socially aware. The benefit of such activity is a more immediate and guaranteed social response that can be shared far and wide across social media.

So what are the obvious examples?

For so many of us, the magical Coca-Cola trucks symbolise the lead up to Christmas. This twinkling advertising campaign has been gracing our screens since 1995, arguably shaping Christmas as many consumers know it. Did you know that Coca-Cola actually manipulated modern day interpretations of Santa Claus? In 1931 The Coca-Cola company wanted their campaign to show a ‘wholesome’ and ‘realistic’ Santa Claus. So, commissioned Michigan-born illustrator Haddon Sundblom to develop advertising images showing Santa himself, not a man dressed simply dressed as Santa.

The release of the John Lewis annual Christmas advert has become somewhat of a national event since first airing in 2007. The adverts usually play on themes of sharing, family and love. These factors alone make the campaign instantly recognisable as a John Lewis advert. It has also sparked a festive competition, which includes adverts now being released by Sainsbury’s and M&S.

Fenwick’s Window is an annual Christmas tradition in the North East. Thousands of people gathered this year to watch the highly-anticipated Christmas window reveal as it lit-up Northumberland street. Ideally placed within the store itself and underneath the store logo, the festive ‘experience’ helps to cement the occasion.

So what do these three examples have in common? The emotional aspect that connects the brand to the consumer. Coca-cola manipulates its colours and imagery to play on the notion of tradition and magic. However, it must be noted that tradition is not something that can be manufactured, but earned over years of consistency. In contrast, John Lewis and Fenwick who may not use visual ties in the same way, emphasise the same traditional connection to Christmas. Whether it’s an advert, or a window display, the campaigns are vehicles for elevating the brand and its association to Christmas forward.

What can your B2B business do?

Whilst B2B may not hold the same appeal or advertising capability that B2C businesses benefit from, there are still opportunities to capitalise on.

Digital marketing should be used to its full potential. For example, why not change your social media channels to be more festive? Or perhaps send out a company festive newsletter to celebrate successes from the past year, and to wish your customers a Merry Christmas and good luck for the year ahead? These are prime examples of how your company can still leverage the creative aspects associated with B2C campaigns in a way that it won’t jeopardise your professional reputation, whilst simultaneously increasing web traffic at a time where traffic in B2B usually suffers.

This month saw Horizonworks take full advantage of its digital marketing channels. Not only did we launch a typography Christmas advent calendar across social media:

HWM-advent-newsletter-image

But we also launched an e-marketing campaign to announce our first festive charity competition. This year we decided to donate the money we would normally spend on festive cards to charity – enlisting the help of the public through email marketing and social media to decide which great cause we should donate to. To find out more about this successful campaign, click here.

Often, it’s easy to overthink the festive period – sometimes taking it back to traditional basics can be just as effective. Why not write personal Christmas card to all your current clients? Perhaps provide a small gift? This will show that you’re thinking of them and thus strengthen your relationship.

Christmas might be lucrative for the B2C sector, but there’s no reason B2B marketers shouldn’t explore festive opportunities! So reach out and get creative, it is Christmas after all…

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