After a year of disruption and uncertainty, we're finally entering the season of big calendar dates, with Halloween, Black Friday and, of course, Christmas round the corner. You want to prepare your business as best you can for all that activity. To get on that surer footing and make good money, you need to get to work early on building awareness.
While drumming up sales is important, it's brand awareness that leads to success, both in the short term, and in the long term
It’s possible that amid lockdown and all the many stresses of 2020, your business fell out of people’s minds a bit. If there’s one time that you want people to remember your name, it’s the festive period and its shopping bonanza - one which is likely to be just as lucrative as any other year.
We recently surveyed our readers about how the pandemic has affected their spending habits, and 70% agreed that the Christmas period will be a good opportunity to support local businesses. In that sense, money spent building your audience will only feed into your bottom line.
But don’t hit the brakes when January arrives. Brand building is a year-round project requiring strategic thinking and creativity.
Here are our top suggestions for raising brand awareness at Christmas and creating an impression on local customers that lasts all year.
Effective brand awareness isn’t just about reaching people - it’s about reaching the right people. You want to put your name in the heads of those most likely to move through the next stages towards a sale.
You may have a good idea of who they are already. In that case, you need to think hard about the kind of media those people consume the most, as that’s where you want to be advertising. This has its nuances; while you’d expect to find younger consumers on social platforms like Instagram and older demographics reading print, there can be a lot of overlap.
That’s why your campaign needs to be multi-channel, encompassing several advertising formats to maximise your reach and impact. For example, by using a combination of digital display ads on local news sites, Facebook ads, video ads and print ads in popular publications, you can announce yourself to a large cohort of potential customers.
You may already have some sense of what your business represents (or what you’d like it to represent) in customers’ minds.
Try to think more deeply about this before kicking off your campaign, and nail down your key traits. You need to think beyond what you sell and conceive of your brand as if you were designing a character in a book or film.
Your name will evoke a particular constellation of qualities to those familiar with it. To tap into this, brainstorm descriptive keywords you feel are most relevant (or desirable) to you. Use these to guide how you express yourself in branded communications - your tone of voice, your colour scheme and so on.
This should give you a blueprint for how to present yourself to the world that’ll last you long beyond Christmas 2020.
You probably remember Christmas video ads more readily than others. Who could forget Iceland’s heartbreaking 2018 ad featuring ape Rang-Tan, or the characters John Lewis introduces us to each year?
These ads are part of the fabric of Christmas, and they wield a genuine emotional heft. This stands to reason; for grabbing attention and creating a lasting impression, video is second to none. Indeed, the average video piece attracts 7 times the attention of a standard digital display ad.
Given video marketing also boosts brand awareness by 54%, it’s no surprise that the big beasts have put it at the heart of their strategies for many years. But small businesses can now get in on the action too.
The internet has made it easier and cheaper than ever to produce and distribute sparkling video content to an audience you can target more precisely than TV has ever allowed for! If you create a truly unforgettable Christmas clip and share it on your social channels, you stand a chance of driving big engagements.
At JPIMedia, we’re committed to making this form of advertising affordable to all businesses. Speak to our video marketing experts to start work on your own Christmas miracle.
Christmas is always a time for compassion, but this year a community-minded spirit of goodwill will matter more than ever. That means you need to come across as social and convivial.
Your first task - step up your social media game. Too many businesses’ social pages are dead zones, with the odd status update every few months followed by radio silence. Don’t be like this - be engaging, be active and make real connections this Christmas.
Social media lends itself to a more playful way of engaging customers directly, with the potential to get a lot of attention. Consider trying out the poll function on Twitter this Christmas for a product-relevant mini-survey; for instance, a greengrocer might ask people whether they prefer their potatoes roasted or mashed on Christmas Day.
Christmas is all about people, and ultimately, we do our real living offline. Social distancing makes it harder to bring people together in the flesh, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dedicate your commitment to your community. Sponsoring local charity initiatives (as well as being the right thing to do) can help you build a valuable reputation as a business that cares about what goes on on its doorstep.
Christmas is an obvious time to focus on raising brand awareness, but you should see your seasonal activity as laying the groundwork for a longer-term effort.
Be distinctive and creative, think about the best formats for you and use the most effective marketing techniques. Hit the spot, and you’ll build brand awareness this Christmas that lasts all year round.