Brand Stories

Hitting you in the feels: Holiday brand storytelling

Regardless of your family traditions or religious background, the holiday season is loaded with meaning, and brands worldwide work overtime to capitalize on that. However, not every holiday-related brand storytelling campaign tugs on the proverbial heartstrings. Some disappear without a trace – or elicit jeers from the cheap seats.

How can brands be real, compelling, and effective, all while hitting you in the feels? Here are a few ideas.

Tackle big worries from the inside out.

Think small but significant. How do we celebrate when large gatherings are verboten? What do we even have to celebrate? Brands can find creative answers to these questions by tapping into their own feelings and experiences and those of their audiences. There’s no time like the present to revisit that “we’re all in this together” feeling that has waxed and waned this year.

Appeal to the best in everyone.

Gap assertively rejects the polemics of 2020 in favor of brand storytelling centered on relationships and hope for a brighter future.

Show, don’t tell.

The former Norwest Bank produced my favorite holiday commercial of all time (dubbed by some online as the “creepy snowman”). It uses music, imagery, and imagination in a triumph of wordless delight and wonderment.

Embrace nostalgia.

On the heels of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Coca-Cola produced an unapologetically old-fashioned animated commercial with a Norman Rockwell-esque Santa and two cherubic children. It was simple, but it was what we needed at the time: a message of hope, cheer, and comfort. For some companies, nostalgia is always on brand.

Dare to tell it like it is.

Plenty wins the prize for the funniest, most bittersweet holiday ad of 2020. The timely yet timeless message hits home this year but will likely stick with us (or stick to us) far into the future. #Xmess indeed.

This year, we’re all “muddling through somehow.” However, successful brands prove time and again that adversity breeds opportunity. With thoughtful storytelling and a dash of originality, holiday campaigns have terrific potential to win hearts and minds, foster unity, and help people prepare for what’s ahead.

Consummate Prose Consulting can help you find your True North, during the holidays and every other day. Contact us today to learn how we provide growing brands with the tools they need to discover and share their brand identity and story.

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