Cut through the clutter with your retail Christmas campaign
Two years ago
Christmas can be a shopper’s worst nightmare – the crowds, the queues, the Santa photos, the last minute dash for gifts for family, friends, neighbours, teachers, tutors, pets…!
It can also be a retail brand’s greatest challenge.
At some department stores and shopping centres, the Christmas retail period can also start as early as September which diminishes the sense of urgency for enthusiastic shoppers and quickly leads to ‘Christmas fatigue’. What originated as a joyful, Christian celebration is now often perceived by consumers as a shameless ploy by capitalist overlords (and their evil henchman, Santa!) to convince us all to spend more money.
Since the global financial crisis in 2008 and subsequent years of weak Christmas sales figures, we came to expect the previously unheard of pre-Christmas sale, contributing to the ‘discount mentality’ which now pervades consumers’ attitudes all year round, ie. don’t buy it until it’s on sale.
The festive season is also the time of year when many retail brands spend over half their marketing budget in a very short space of time so advertising and promotional activity is at an all-time high and media rates are too.
So how can retail brands achieve genuine cut-through in a saturated market in the lead up to Christmas to engage their audience and drive sales?
1. Strategy first
Outline a clear plan for your Christmas campaign – what do you want to achieve, why do you want to achieve it and how are you going to do it?
Articulate what will set you apart and resonate most with your audiences at this time of year. Learn from what you have tried before and build on it – if Facebook advertising has worked well throughout the past year, Christmas is not the time to trial sponsored posts on Instagram. Stick with Facebook and explore Instagram when there is less competition and you know more about your audience.
2. Solve problems
Give your customers the gift of convenience – understand their needs and present them with helpful solutions, for example, gift ideas, planning tools, menus, apps, experiences, etc.
Christmas is also an emotionally-charged time for many consumers so aim to make it easier for them. Don’t talk about you, talk about them.
3. Stay simple
Remember that the most effective campaigns are very simple – easy to explain, easy to understand, easy to execute. Avoid multiple campaign messages and complicated promotions – this is the time of year when your audience is at its most distracted and time-poor, despite how appealing the major prize may be.
4. Creatively speaking
Let the campaign creative do the talking – beautifully designed creative speaks volumes. To really stand out, don’t be afraid to escape traditional red and green and try something new.
5. No sale
Avoid discounting and focus on the emotional and convenience benefits you offer instead. When you focus on price, you connect rationally not emotionally so you sacrifice promoting all the other qualities of your products and services and perpetuate the discount mentality.
6. Christmas in July?
Think differently…completely differently. Consider conducting a lean Christmas campaign in December and pioneering a retail ‘Christmas in July’ campaign when the weather has cooled and so has consumer spending.
By keeping these things in mind and thinking creatively, you can cut through the clutter with your retail Christmas campaign to engage your audience and drive sales.
Here’s one we prepared earlier…
In this campaign for Birkenhead Point’s fresh food precinct, we understood that brands that make emotional connections with their audience achieve more success than those that only connect on a rational level so we developed a clear strategy with love at its heart.
We decided to showcase the beautiful fresh food and produce available at Birkenhead Point’s specialty food stores and supermarkets as objects of desire with the headline, Fall in love with food this Christmas.
We cut through the Christmas campaign clutter by creating stunning images that showcased food in its purest form and encouraged shoppers to celebrate with simplicity.