Brand Stories content marketing

2020 holiday messaging: Don’t kid yourself

We might be ready for 2021 already, but let’s get through the holidays first. Marketing shouldn’t ignore the fact that we’re totally over 2020.

The marketing experts are out in full force with ideas for clever marketing strategies and cheery brand messaging this holiday season. It seems that many have taken their ideas from a past holiday season, slapped “2020” in the headline, and republished them as something new and enticing.

Let’s be honest. We’re all eager for a respite from the 2020 dumpster fire. People put up their trees early, strung colorful lights outdoors for the first time, and cozied up on the sofa for Hallmark Christmas movies they would have once ridiculed.

However, all bets are off. We can’t ignore the fact that people have fatigue when it comes to everything: Zoom, online shopping, politics, home-cooked meals, and pandemic puzzles. We’re all wearing elastic-waist pants and counting the days till the new year, the new presidency, the new vaccine. Repurposed ideas from past years won’t work. It’s tone-deaf to suggest that “free rewards” and “power words” are the keys to the kingdom.

As noted in an earlier blog post, some brands are hitting home runs by acknowledging our 2020 reality. Such timely messaging can’t be recycled in one, two, or five years. But it is the only way that brands today can truly connect with audiences that are fatigued, jaded, and divided like never before.

Throw out the pre-2020 rule book

Here are a few tips for an authentic, memorable holiday messaging strategy in 2020.

  1. Be inclusive. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s a genuine reflection of the world we live in.
  2. Be honest. Happy holidays? We’ll settle for quiet, safe, healthy, and uneventful.
  3. Be clear. What are you selling, and to whom? What’s the benefit? Consider what people need right now: comfort more than joy, hope more than excitement.
  4. Be empathetic. Your audience has big worries. If your product or service can help, great. If not, be a good community member and corporate citizen. Give back when you can. Pursue partnerships. Collaborations are greater than the sum of their parts.
  5. Be ready. Things will change. Be nimble. But don’t forget where we’ve been. An adaptive strategy will benefit you now and into the future.

Repurposing ideas that have worked in the past is common, in part because it’s so efficient. But in these uncommon times, effective brand messaging requires a different approach. Putting your audience’s immediate needs and preferences first will yield a messaging strategy that’s warmer, more authentic, and more compelling than any approach that worked in 2018 or 2016.

Consummate Prose loves reading brands’ wish lists and making their wishes come true. Contact us today for help with messaging during the holidays and year-round.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *