Today I was going to talk about how to increase holiday sales, but as I prepared for this episode, I realized that isn’t what I want my brand and my message to be about. Today, I want to talk to you about connecting with our customers through what matters most to us and to our customers during the holiday season.
- This holiday season, we should find what is meaningful to us and to our customers and focus completely on that.
- We can connect with our customers through thoughtful advertisements and campaigns, by donating to a charity or local cause, and by bringing back memories.
The Meaning Behind The Holiday
REI is famous for their opt-outside campaign. While most people are trying to run their Black Friday sales and campaigns earlier and trying to commercialise Christmas earlier and earlier in the year, REI decided to go in the opposite direction.
REI decided to close all of their stores on Black Friday to encourage their customers to go outside, instead of spending the day shopping. This really resonated with their audience. Their audience loves the outdoors and is passionate about spending time with the people they love. REI didn’t run this campaign for financial reasons; they did it because that’s what was meaningful to them about the holidays—that time outside and the time with the people that we love.
It just so happens that it turned out to be a very good financial move for them, one that got them a lot of press and built a lot of brand loyalty from people like me that think much highly about them because of what they did.
We know that Christmas is a time where people spend a lot of money, and we know that a lot of retailers are very dependent upon this holiday season for them to operate profitably. But maybe the way to operate profitably is not focusing on the tricks and the gimmicks and the two for one offers and the 50% deals. I strongly encourage us to find what is meaningful to us and to our customers about the holiday season and focus completely on that. I would venture to say that in most cases the sales are going to follow.
How to Connect with Our Customers
This concept can be very effectively applied to ads. For example, Coke ran a 2020 holiday commercial, “Give Something Only You Can Give,” in which a dad was doing everything he could to deliver his daughter’s letter to Santa. He embarks on this adventure in search of Santa and when he thinks it’s hopeless, Santa arrives in a Coca Cola truck with a new letter from his daughter saying, “Dear Santa, please bring my daddy home for Christmas.”
Coca Cola sells carbonated sugar water, but they found a way to connect with their customers through what matters most about the holidays—the family relationships. We should find those things that matter most of the holidays and connect with our customers through those things.
Another example is a Macy’s 2020 commercial for Christmas, “In Dad’s Shoes.” In it, a little girl stands in her dad’s shoes and asks, “If I were Dad, what would I want for Christmas?” She spends the day walking in her dad’s shoes and ends up buying a pair of socks from Macy’s. Again, Macy’s found a way to connect to those family relationships.
We don’t just have to connect through causes. We can also connect through emotions, memories, and feelings. A great example that comes to mind about this is Bath and Body Works. My family goes into Bath and Body Works over the holiday season almost every year. I vividly remember scents that have to do with the holidays where they have lotions that are Christmas Sugar Cookie scented or or candy cane lotions. These lotions help bring back the memories, the great memories we’ve had during past Christmases.
5 Businesses That Connected with Their Customers During the Holidays
Here are five extra examples of businesses that connected with their customers during the holidays:
Grand America Hotel
One of the premier hotels in the Salt Lake City area is called The Grand America Hotel. It is a beautiful hotel, and during the holiday season, they do so many wonderful things to focus on the holidays. They create holiday scents, organize holiday foods and contests, and set up beautiful decorations. They bring things in from the community, such as these amazing gingerbread house competitions and displays that help the customers, who are passionate about the holidays, feel that passion about The Grand America Hotel.
Beehive Federal Credit Union
Beehive Federal Credit Union is a small credit union in Rexburg, Idaho. Around the Christmas season, they contact their customers and they extend an offer to them about skipping car payments so that they can make ends meet during the holiday season. The credit union still gets the full payment, they’ve just deferred the payments further and extended the repayment schedule.
Those families that might be having a hard time making ends meet during the holidays, are given a little bit of help from their credit union. How do you think those families feel about that credit union? Because that Credit Union helped them provide a better Christmas for the people they love, the customers are likely to have much more loyalty.
Taco Bell will raise money for CASA, a Child Adolescent and Family Mental Health service, for an extra month. I am personally very passionate about child welfare, adoption, and helping kids that are neglected, and I’ve worked a lot as a volunteer with CASA. I’ve been on a board of directors of one of the CASA regional organizations.
Through their donations, Taco Bell is connecting with me through something that is very meaningful for me.
Last year, Nordstrom famously did a promotion for a throw blanket. For each blanket that was sold, they made a donation to Operation Warm, which is an organization that donates coats to kids in need. In addition to making a difference and serving the community, it also benefited their business. They were able to get a good amount of press from that promotion.
Another great example from last year was American Eagle. They ran a promotion where for every person who signed up for their rewards program, 10 meals were donated to Feeding America up to 350,000 meals (Source: USA Today).
However you do it, whether you connect through faith, giving, family, memories, find a way for your business to connect with your customers through what matters to you and what matters to them this holiday season. That will probably be much more successful than any two for one coupon or 50% discounts that you try to do. That’s what Christmas is about. As you prepare for this holiday season, I would encourage you to focus on what really matters to you and your customers.
Thanks for joining me for this episode. If you enjoyed it, go to the Monetization Nation Facebook group and tell us what your business has done during the holiday seasons to connect with your customers.