OP/ED: How clever Christmas marketing boosts brands in the key selling period

Opinion by Dan Ratner

Dan Ratner from uberbrand.

Dan Ratner from uberbrand.

As Christmas approaches, consumers should be bracing themselves for the flurry of promotions from the hundreds of brands fighting to capture their attention.

Not surprisingly, consumer electronics brands will be particularly active during the Christmas season. For these brands it should be about reinforcing their relevance and how their products benefit consumers. They need to keep their products top of mind during the holidays.

Nespresso

Christmas is an integral part of Nespresso’s marketing, particularly in Northern Hemisphere countries where it is winter, so hot drinks are always comforting. Nespresso can play on these occasions, where consumers are more likely to enjoy that delicious coffee in the comfort of their own home, using their own coffee machine.

In 2012, Nespresso launched three special Christmas coffees: Variation Hazelnut; Variation Macadamia Nut; and Variation Coconut. This is always a clever tactic because they connect the exotic nature of the flavour to a series, with the aim of having customers try all three flavours. It also activates its community by making flavour a topic of discussion for Nespresso lovers.

Another past promotion was ‘a cup of Christmas’. Nespresso asked customers to vote for their favourite flavour for the official ‘cup of Christmas’. The winner was the Nespresso Cioccorosso, a dark chocolate-and-berries flavour. Nespresso ran that competition with an aim of positioning its brand as the unofficial coffee of Christmas.

These marketing ideas not only encourage people to try and buy new or different flavours, they also support the proliferation of the brand itself, especially by giving people the idea of buying someone else a Nespresso machine as a present.

Nespresso has continued this theme of unique and unusual flavours, revealing the super exclusive Maragogype Grand Cru earlier this week.

Apple

Christmas is a time for giving and Apple looks to make its brand as relevant as possible by reinforcing the accessibility of its brand across a wide demographic. Apple accentuates the fact that its products are loved by all ages and can also be enjoyed by the whole family.

With a multitude of functions, Apple’s products fit well with Christmas, and communicates itself as a brand with function. It does this by, for example, taking family photos, communicating with distant relatives or making videos of people together.

In 2013, Apple brought out this advertisement which highlighted this point. The advertisement did cause some controversy with some people feeling it showed a more image obsessed-culture.

It does, however, illustrate the usage of Apple products in line with a stereotypical Christmas.

Smeg

Smeg looks to create brand relevance at this time through its communication strategy of building a strong association between Christmas dinners and Smeg ovens.

The Smeg brand audience targets people who take pride in their kitchens and enjoy entertaining. Making Smeg all about people who care about food and who want to create and share delicious meals.

The brand also focuses on the technology of its appliances and how they can add convenience. For example, Smeg even says its oven can cook a Christmas cake quickly.

Panasonic

Panasonic is an interesting brand as it stretches its product range across myriad applications, from cameras to TVs and breadmakers.

One of Panasonic’s key strategies is to offer consumers discounts or added value items with their purchases. For example in 2013, the brand offered Tupperware with any microwave purchased.

This is another clever tactic as it creates brand relevance by building association with meals and the surfeit of leftovers that prevail at Christmastime. By offering added-value gifts with purchase, Panasonic can drive relevance by offering a helpful hand during a busy period.

The key to marketing is to find ways to make your product brand relevant during the Christmas period and aligning your communications to this. So if it’s a time for celebrating, being with families and relaxing, you need to accentuate how your brand and its products achieve this.

Dan Ratner is an expert in visual branding, such as logos, fonts and styles, and is currently the managing director of uberbrand (styled in lower case), a consultancy that helps companies create and define positioning and brand strategy.

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