2021 Holiday Guide: Creative Best Practices for Holiday Marketing

Creative and Brand, Marketing Strategy
August 18, 2021
Adrian Padron

Compelling, eye-catching, and scroll-stopping content is the best way to stand out from the sea of holiday promotions. Creative strategy, including brand identity, tone of voice, and visual assets, is a critical element of a well-executed holiday marketing plan. 

Outperform your competition this holiday season with these creative best practices for holiday marketing!

1. Be inclusive of diverse groups

While Christmas is a major holiday in the United States and beyond, remember that there are many other holidays to celebrate this time of year as well. In fact, the holiday season is full of varied celebrations for many groups of people around the globe.

You can include these groups in your holiday creative strategy by keeping your messages general and neutral. Instead of wishing folks a “Merry Christmas,” a simple “Happy Holidays” works well. You can also focus your message on common values like peace, faith, family, giving, and community.

When you approach your holiday creative strategy with inclusivity in mind, you remind your audience that your brand supports and celebrates human beings of all religions, geographic locations, sexual orientations, and backgrounds.

ThirdLove’s “Love is Love” commercial celebrates Pride Month 2020.

2. Speak to your customers on a human level

In other words, be relatable.

Up until recent years, most brands were guilty of speaking to their audiences as if they were a monolith (and very gullible). Commercials were canned and contrived. It was easy to look at the actors and actresses in them and wonder who the ads could be targeting — because it definitely wasn’t you.

Today, we’re seeing more creators and influencers producing content that is relatable and down-to-earth. It’s important that your message says to your audience: “We understand you. And we can help”. You need to meet people where they are.

In the end, consumers are more likely to stop scrolling when they see a real person talking about a product than they are when they see a traditional advertisement. Perhaps this is why influencer marketing is expected to grow to a value of $13.8 billion in 2021.

Amazon’s “The show must go on” campaign represents the challenges of 2020. It’s a holiday campaign that doesn’t need to scream holiday.

3. Always design your ads for mobile viewing first

You may be sick of hearing it by now, but we still see many brands producing advertisements that are not designed for mobile first — and that’s not a good thing.

More than ever before, people consume their content on-the-go, and this means via mobile devices. Pew Research Center estimates that approximately 85% of Americans own a smartphone whereas only 77% own a desktop or laptop computer. Furthermore, desktops and laptops rarely travel alongside people. Rather, they’re usually left at home or at the office. By contrast, smartphones go with people everywhere — from meetings and first dates to the bathroom and the bedside.

To target mobile users, brands need to create quick, digestible content that utilizes as much vertical space on the screen as possible. Follow creative best practices and design any videos for sound off, and get to the point as quickly as possible. Your audience is only one thumb-swipe away from not getting your message.

4. Provide value to your audience

This may seem like a given, but your audience wants to know: “What’s in it for me?

While providing benefits and value propositions of your products or services is key here, it’s also important to dig a bit deeper. For example, post videos of how to use or clean your products. Create detailed gift guides that include a few of your products. Gift guides for different types of people are particularly helpful (moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, kids, bosses, etc.).

You might also provide a BOGO deal so that customers can gift a friend. Look for ways to offer free shipping and general discounts. Around the holidays, your customers want to shop. Don’t give them any reason not to shop at your establishment.

A Holiday Marketing email by Uncommon Good's
Uncommon Goods’ holiday marketing email details different types of gift guides making the shopping experience easier.

5. Start planning ASAP

Simply put: Don’t wait until November to start planning your holiday campaign. The sooner you begin, the more time you’ll have to do the research and planning necessary to be successful.

On average, it can take two to three months to contrive a strong holiday campaign. You need time to research your audience, develop your products and services, and angle your campaign for the widest reception and success. Even for small brands, we recommend starting as early as July. 

Social Media tips for holiday marketing in 2021

Let us help you develop a robust creative strategy this holiday season!

Your creative strategy is always integral to the success of your marketing efforts, but during the holidays, it’s more critical than ever.

To give your company an edge this season, use these creative best practices for holiday marketing or contact us to discuss with our experts. We’ll help you up your game when it comes to your holiday ad campaigns and take your business to the next level as the new year rolls around.