To communicate or not to communicate during the holidays?

Anouk Jacob – Associate Director at Spreckley

Easter may be over but while some of us have been busy squeezing two weeks’ work into eight working days, the schools, colleges and some universities are still closed or not holding lectures, so it got me thinking; should we communicate during the holidays?

Some will say “don’t” as less people are online, busy on holiday, taking care of the kids… although we all know that social media peaks are highest during office hours, whilst others will say “do” as people have time on their hands, are more relaxed, and ultimately more likely to spend money.

I would say it depends on “who” – who you are as a company and who you are trying to target.

Nowadays, some companies will only use social media channels to communicate directly with their customers, which is just one way that brands and organisations can leverage the holidays to get their essential brand message out. Using prize draw competitions to create visibility (and brand preference) or promotional stunts to increase sales or even games to generate traffic. Companies that align their brand with the specific holiday season, have to be careful to keep the focus on their products and services. This can go beyond holidays and can be used for other “special” occasions (known to the sceptics as pure commercial marketing gimmicks) such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s/Father’s Day. This messaging approach also speaks to the growing role that social media is playing in helping brands leverage peak engagement times.

The challenge is that there are so many different types of people that make up an audience (think of the entire ecosystem of any brand) these days that there is a fine line between annoying a customer and linking the brand in a valuable way to the actual holiday (even though the later has often nothing to do with it). One has to make sure the message reflects what the brand is about, that’s why doing it just for the sake of doing it (and getting customers to purchase something), could create alienation more than anything else.

That being said, the holiday season is the occasion to do something different; to create a new look or add a feature that will be pleasing not only to the eye, but will add some value to the product/service and therefore heighten the user experience and the consumers’ desire for the brand. It is the moment to create a compelling story around the brand, make it more human, allow the consumer to relate to the brand and make the company’s product or service shine and stick out from the competition.

Holiday season means that things are happening (in the outside world) so if you want to take advantage of it, go all the way (go the full nine yards): do PR, write content, activate your social media (and do the competitions, games, stunts and whatever else) but you should also host, sponsor or be visible at events. That is yet another way to align your brand with the specific holiday. For that to be successful, everything needs to be integrated. You cannot do one action without the support of another. So if you are going to do something around the holiday season, do it, but do it properly!