As we approach the changing of the year and the winter holiday season, I'm always struck by the myriad of ways that a company can carefully express their brand or inadvertently give insights into their brand by their actions and communications around the holidays. Here are five ways that a company's communications can give insights into their brand.
1. Holiday Greeting Campaigns
Originally airing in 1990, I saw this oldie-but-goodie Corona Beer commercial the other day. There are the sounds of nature at dusk and a single lit-up cabin with a palm tree next to it with a string of lights on it. A single whistler slowly whistles "O Tennenbalm" as the sun sets. I'm not sure it has ever changed, but the simplicity and ambience the spot creates in the middle of a commercial break makes it stand out starkly from the other commercials. The ad gives you the idea that Corona Beer understands the value of savoring life's peaceful moments in nature, specifically on the beach with palm trees. In my opinion, this is an excellent reflection of their brand and by this point the commercial is steeped in nostalgia.
2. Social Media
One of the most common holiday gestures brands make is a holiday greeting graphic on Social Media. With dozens of pre-made plug-and-play holiday greeting templates in Canva to pick from, the brand that ties in their product will stand apart. Here's a great example from Porsche a few years ago who shared an abstract glowing tree made out of Porsche tail lights.
3. Branded Gifts
Companies love to create branded swag to give to employees, clients, and customers as gifts around the holidays. The idea is that if the item is branded to the company it will create remind the recipient of their brand and positive feelings in the recipient around that brand. But which branded item to choose? And how much to invest? Companies can easily get caught between wanting to give a gift to everyone but also needing to stick to a budget – but they don't want to look cheap.mHowever, even if it's a small or inexpensive item, the right branded swag can show the recipient that the brand understands them, their daily life, and that the brand is "one of them". One of my past clients who is a law firm gifted each member of their legal team metal ice cubes to enhance their lawyers' swanky bar set up, which I thought was creative and insightful. Another company, a printer in Los Angeles, printed the most beautiful desk calendars every year on luscious paper which were coveted by myself and the other designers I worked with (clearly effective).
4. Community involvement
Businesses can participate in community involvement in many different ways during the holidays. Some common ways include hosting a toy drive or canned food drive, or encouraging employees to participate in Habitat for Humanity as a company team. Some less common ways to give back during the holidays include serving meals at a soup kitchen, adopting a family through a nonprofit such as Boys and Girls Club, or volunteering through More Love Letters to write letters of encouragement to people who are going through a rough time. I believe that More Love Letters could be a great community involvement effort that aligns with a company's brand if they are in an industry such as mental health, content creation or publishing.
5. Corporate Giving
A company may also choose to make a monetary contribution to a nonprofit through corporate giving around the holidays. It's common for a business to select a nonprofit that supports a cause that is in line with their brand's ethics and particular mission. If a brand's customers or clients are in their 20s, this becomes particularly relevant.
"If you’re targeting a younger demographic, you need to embrace corporate charity programs. Your customers expect nothing less. Both millennials and Gen Zers grew up in a world that encouraged recycling and social good. Instead of donating money directly to causes they care about, shoppers under the age of 40 prefer to give back through where they shop." - Forbes