Updated: Dec 1, 2020
The holidays are big business for consumer brands but can B2B organisations also put the magic of the season to good use? Absolutely! Here's how...
As the world slowly recovers from the Coronavirus pandemic and many of us wake up to how far we still have to go to make our companies and communities equal and inclusive - a mass-mailed, corporate coloured e-card just won't cut it this year.
In 2020 and beyond, whether you are Business-to-Business or Business-to-Consumer, the reality is all good communication is Human-to-Human.
So let's take the essence of the most successful consumer campaigns (Buster the boxer, I'm looking at you) and build a seasonal campaign that drives lead generation, strengthens relationships with clients and generates social engagement on a scale that B2B brands don’t usually enjoy.
Creating an effective seasonal campaign
To create an effective campaign or marketing piece that’s able to walk the fine line between Christmassy and cheesy, it makes sense to look at past successful campaigns for inspiration.
A couple of things to consider first:
Campaigns at this time of the year should ooze the feel-good factor and it is a real opportunity to get creative from concept to delivery
At the same time, you need to be subtle. Nobody likes an in-your-face sales pitch at this time of the year
Be sensitive to the fact that not everyone celebrates Christmas. However, in much of the world, it is still an excuse to take some time off with family – but consider your customer base in the message you choose
It goes without saying that inclusion and representation is a non-negotiable
Here is some inspiration through the ages, along with tips for implementing the principles of these campaigns in your business...
In 2016, Dutch airline KLM hosted a ‘bonding buffet’. In a nod to travellers who have to travel over the holidays they set up a buffet in Amsterdam’s Schipol airport.
Twenty people from all walks of life, on their way to different destinations, were enticed to sit together at a table on Christmas Day and enjoy a buffet together. Needless to say, the video they made from the event was priceless.
What client or CSR events have you run this year? Consider pulling all those Zoom screenshots into a short, emotional, people-focused clip with a thank you message to your clients. You could share this along with a personal message or in the final e-newsletter of the year.
The Hershey’s Kisses “Christmas Bells” ad from 1989 is just 15 seconds long but it’s a classic and never fails to evoke all those Christmas feelings. It’s been so successful that it still runs today.
It is memorable, simple, short and shows off their product subtly but effectively.
How could you create something similar relevant to your business, be it dancing skyscrapers or tree ornaments depicting your tech product?
Every year advertising and marketing communications agency Campbell Ewald release a video as a season’s greeting card.
My favourite is the Peace video, with members from Campbell Ewald offices around the world showing the international symbol for peace and the tagline We all want the same thing this holiday: Peace.
Unpretentious, uncomplicated but it certainly does pull at the heart strings.
What hope for 2021 ties your organisation together? A similar campaign could easily be created with short clips of your board members, other employees or even customers and suppliers.
Vidyard, the video marketing platform company, creates, unsurprisingly, a video each holiday season.
Each video includes personalization and interactivity to engage the viewer. This approach marries two key marketing trends - video and personalization – to create a fun, festive greeting.
How can you use this as inspiration to create a personalised journey that clients will want to share again and again?
In 2018 Content4Demand released a holiday calendar, titled “Party Like a Marketing Rockstar”.
Each day in the calendar offered links to tips, videos and guides for B2B marketers, which users could access as an online advent calendar.
What content could you show off in a similar calendar? Think usable models, research or other articles and blogs you have created throughout the year.
Similarly, LinkedIn launched a 12 Days of Christmas campaign, which shared 12 best sales practices in the lead-up to Christmas. Each day a different blog post was published which related to a different aspect of sales strategies.
The entire series was available on their website for the duration of the campaign.
Like the Content4Demand example, consider what insights you could package up and share with your clients to help them do business better.
Non-profits and charities see an increase in donations over the holiday season. According to software company Blackbaud, 34% of all donations are given in the last three months of the year.
SDL, a global customer experience company used this to their advantage in their holiday campaign in 2015. They sent out a holiday email which, if the Learn More button was clicked, would lead to a donation of $1 to the SDL Foundation.
In this way, clients were cleverly prompted to find out more about SDL by tapping into the generosity of the holiday spirit.
It is worth noting that in 2020, charities received 29% less income than they had budgeted for.
So if your organisation has specific charities you support throughout the year, consider using a December direct mail to increase donations and get clients involved in the causes that matter to you.
Another charity-centred campaign, Uberflip (previously SnapApp) showcased their generosity with their Ugly Sweater campaign – don’t we all love a good ugly sweater? They ran a contest in which users uploaded photos of themselves in their favourite ugly sweater.
For each entry users were able to choose from one of five charities to donate to.
Look at ways to drive clients to take easy action, share personalised content and engage on social media.
Another option of course, is to give your client a gift.
When done right, client gifts can lead to more meaningful relationships as well as increased business. But when done badly, they can ruin all the hard work you’ve put into building a good rapport.
Our friends over at (hug) have compiled a guide for what gifts to avoid and which clients will love.
Wishing you a happy, healthy December.