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What's the point of seasonal marketing?

View profile for Jonathan McGill
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Marketers spend a lot of time battling for share of mind and it is not an easy battle. This is why seasonal marketing offers marketers a little advantage to appropriate some headspace from your target market.  

Seasonal marketing is based on the principle that people's headspace is already being dominated by the relevant holiday or seasonal festivities that are so prevalent in our culture. Traditionally, direct to consumer brands have prevailed in seasonal marketing but it’s not only for consumer goods and can be an effective tool for communications from any company.

Fortunately, or unfortunately (depending on your interests) not all holidays are equal so International Hat Day on the 15 January is never going to unseat Christmas for example. In the northern hemisphere, Christmas, in particular, presents a healthy dose of cheer, light and joy for many people and brands haven’t shied away from embracing the positive sentiment. Coca-Cola famously enlisted Swedish American artist Haddon Sundblom in 1931 to paint Santa for a Christmas advertisement. Those paintings depicted Santa as a warm, happy character with human features, including rosy cheeks, a white beard, twinkling eyes and laughter lines. Which was not how he had been presented previously. Sundblom drew inspiration from an 1822 poem by Clement Clark Moore called “A Visit from St. Nicholas” —commonly known as “T’was the Night Before Christmas.” Anyway, I digress, the point is Coca-Cola took a popular holiday and carved out a place for them as a brand to be associated with the holiday season. And it turned out the campaign had a fairly significant cultural impact for years to come and not to mention led to significant success for them as both a business and a brand.

During a recent webinar on social media, LinkedIn expert Richard van der Blom explained that the LinkedIn algorithm tested the content you created by putting it into the feed of a small portion of your followers (around 15%) then, depending on how many and how much people engaged with your content, it would determine if they would serve it to a larger audience or not. So, if you posted at 5pm and it was popular with the smaller audience it could start popping up in your broader network after 7pm and that could be a problem because that is the exact time that traffic starts decreasing on LinkedIn. Now you may be asking and what exactly does that have to do with Christmas?

Well like your LinkedIn post, your marketing content is not created to sit in a corner and get dusty, but it should be designed to be seen by your clients, prospects, colleagues, and stakeholders.

This is why with a little sparkle and the right timing, seasonal marketing can help get your brand out in front of your audience.

In the 1960s social psychologist Robert Zajonc conducted a series of experiments that led to a principle known as the mere-exposure effect or sometimes referred to as the ‘familiarity principle’. Zajonc’s work built on previous research, but he was able to clearly show that the more people saw images the more they like them. Whenever I read that research, I always find my bristles going up slightly because it underlies how simple and primal we can be in our responses, but the proof is undisputed and the more we see words, images and branding, the more likely we are to like them and likability is intrinsically linked to trust.

With the natural consequences of COVID-19 on the 2020 Christmas season, the 2021 Christmas season feels like it is carrying a real sense of expectation, where people will be able to connect with family and friends in a way that they would have missed last year.

At Conscious we have had an advent calendar tradition dating back almost 10 years that we are excited to be launching for 2021 very soon. This tradition of daily donated prizes being awarded to participants has always been a highlight and continues to attract a lot of traffic and engagement across our digital platforms.

So, if seasonal marketing works and Robert Zajonc was onto something with the mere-exposure effect then it's time to climb aboard the Christmas sleigh and get your Christmas marketing up too! Have a look here to see how we could help you.

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