During the holidays, our holiday messaging overflows with familiar expressions based on tradition and pop culture influences. Most people know what we’re talking about when we refer to the Grinch, “Yes, Virginia,” “white stuff,” and the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. But these phrases and many others have become so ubiquitous and tiresome that the holidays spark a revolt against their use.
Why? Because they’re clichés: phrases and ideas that are so overused that they no longer have any meaning. “Clichés serve to make the reading bland and stale,” writes fiction editor Beth Hill. “They are someone else’s words brought into a new plot.”
For brands that strive to be unique, compelling, and memorable, clichés are bad news all year long. But for holiday messaging, the temptation to rely on clichés is strong. Here’s how you can avoid them.
Know your enemy.
Top-notch writers publish lists of phrases and language to avoid during the holiday season. These lists evolve over time as certain terms get “tired” (for example, references to Frozen). Take inventory of what’s changing, and adjust your strategy and messaging appropriately.
Keep it simple and heartfelt.
You’re sincerely grateful for your employees and customers, right? Let that shine through. Simple gratitude is authentic and real.
Be honest and empathetic.
The holidays are tough for many people. They’re especially tough in 2020. Hope and gratitude can coexist alongside exhaustion and exasperation. Consider holiday messaging that acknowledges the complex emotions that come with faith, family, and traditions. People will see in your brand a reflection of themselves.
Stress test your message.
Not sure whether your messaging is merry and bright or bland and stale? Run it casually past some impartial stakeholders for their knee-jerk reaction or conduct proper A/B testing, if you can.
Everyone has long-running inside (or not-so-inside) jokes about the holiday season: the infamous karaoke routine, the casserole that no one touches, the slippers that have been regifted 10 times. Weave humor into your message to surprise and delight audiences that are long accustomed to boring cursive platitudes.
Consummate Prose is your partner for a cliché-free 2021. Contact us today to learn how we can help you produce compelling and effective content that won’t elicit groans.