Christmas usually sparks the busiest time of year for most retailers but as season spending started early with record-breaking Black Friday sales, it’s more important than ever to create an experience customers can’t resist for the holiday season.
Campaigns that evoke emotions, provide strategic shareable content, added value, and delight the customer will fare best. We’ve compiled 12 strategic tips to help brands get the most out of their holiday season experiential campaigns.
Tip 1. Create an ADVENTure. Don’t just offer shoppers an experience, offer them an adventure. Pop-up shops or a store-within-a-store have more chance of cut through than your average sampling campaign. Habitat created a pop-up experience for Cadbury’s Christmas In July campaign. The Cadbury Market Stall, sold Cadbury Choc House Packs and Jumpers and hosted celebrity & Casanova talent who entertained the crowds via the Cadbury Chocolate House Build demonstrations. Consumers were engaged in droves through the Awkward Portrait Photo-Booth, with the line continuing to build across the day. Samples of 12gm Cadbury Dairy Milk bars were given out to those passing by, giving people a sweet memory of Cadbury to enjoy.
Tip 2. Think outside your brand’s offering. Great campaigns don’t require massive budgets. Today’s shopper is drawn to the beauty of a good ‘analogue’ experience that can bring value, like offering a traditional gift wrapping pop up service. American fast food chain Greggs created pop-up gift wrapping bars at their restaurants for shoppers and wrapped their gifts in bespoke Greggs paper, and offered people a glass of mulled wine as they waited.
Tip 3. Capture the essence of the season. Appealing to customers’ five senses is a must in any experiential campaign so make sure you capture the essence of Christmas with aromas of fresh pine, cinnamon & spice and lots of splashes of red, gold and green.
Tip 4. Know your audience. Understand cultural differences and decide what your message is based on your location, and the diversity of your target audience. Do you know your target audience? Do you understand what they like about the season or how they celebrate it?
Tip 5. Be efficient! Christmas shoppers are time poor so make your offering simple, quick and valuable focussing your efforts on how your brand can make their shopping day easier, not more cumbersome – think complimentary parking vouchers or pop-up valet service.
Tip 6. Get out of the noisy shopping space. If pop-ups in shopping centres are out of your budget, take advantage of the many celebrations and night markets around town where a roving brand experience can capture shoppers in a festive mood!
Tip 7. Content, content, content. Never let a brand experience happen without maximising your social media content opportunity. Announce it to your online communities beforehand, use live feeds, provide shareable content and hashtags.
Tip 8. Delight shoppers. Bring a little joy and drive excitement with an immersive VR experience, like a ride on Santa’s sled or a visit to Santa’s workshop. Making your shopper laugh and enjoy what can otherwise be a stressful shopping day will be appreciated and remembered.
Tip 9. Be authentic. Avoid annoying false urgency that shoppers can see right through and create a real reason to buy such as offer a rare, one-off season offer or donate a portion of proceeds to drought affected communities.
Tip 10. Customer retention is key. The holiday season isn’t just about creating revenue, it’s also about establishing connections with customers who will return to purchase in the off-season. Make sure that customer retention is top of mind in every experience.
Tip 11. Create a pathway to purchase. Chances are that shoppers that engage with your activation will be a mix of new and loyal customers. The pathway to purchase for a repeat customer looks very different than a new customer, so make considerations for both.
Tip 12. Plan now for 2020. Don’t just plan for the lead up to Christmas, take advantage of after Christmas sales and start planning ahead for 2020. keep your customers in mind during every decision you make, and don’t forget about establishing lifetime value with your brand.