Tis The Season for Brands to Deliver Meaningful Value

By Laura Rollins

The holiday season is frenetic for consumers and marketers alike. As consumers cope with the season’s hustle and bustle, marketers face big financial stakes, with holiday retail sales reaching $929.5 billion in 2022 and brands investing $1.9 billion in advertising in December alone, according to Statista, with even more anticipated this year.

As marketers, we think of brands as carefully orchestrated identities. As people, we think more simply: The products and services we use are part of our daily lives. No time of year makes this more apparent than the joyful yet stressful holiday season. Unconsciously, consumers ask: What brands help me maintain my sanity while conquering my endless to-do list -- and maybe even add some delight to my day?

The iconic brands that capture people’s attention during the chaos of the holidays are those that deliver meaningful value. Here are three simple ways to earn consumer attention during the holiday marketing onslaught.

Value my time.Over Black Friday weekend, I was buying an embarrassingly expensive hair styling device (in my defense, it was on sale!). Unfortunately, I struggled to complete the purchase on the brand’s website, inadvertently missing significant freebies that were part of the deal, which meant an hour on the phone to resolve the issue when I could have been doing something else.

Smart brands recognize that time is a commodity that’s as precious as money. Whether it’s Ikea offering insight on how their products can be used to get precious alone time during the party season, or Cutwater saving hosts from having to shake their own cocktails, it’s highly motivating when brands are prepared to help save us time this season.

Value my budget.During the holidays, spending adds up quickly. While most brands can’t and shouldn’t be built on offers alone, this is the time when value can capture attention and create positive brand perceptions.

While many brands try to tug heartstrings over the holidays, with emotional and nostalgic creative hoping to inspire customer loyalty, companies like Chewy’s “Pets Just Aren’t Pets, They’re More,” and Aldi’s “Swindle” campaign, use humor to unapologetically focus on highlighting value and low prices.

Meanwhile, Target’s “However You Do It, Do It For Less” campaign positively highlights the value of saving -- with its upbeat vibe coming from its music, not jokes.

Value what I value.With our endless to-do lists, it can be easy to lose focus that the holidays are really about loved ones and the giving spirit. Companies can tap into the emotional draw of the season to humanize their brand.

It’s also a great opportunity to live your brand perspective with consistency. Consumers appreciate this, with more than half of Aprimo 2023 Holiday Content Survey respondents (53%) saying they prefer brands that are consistent in their holiday messaging.

Many beloved brands, such as Patagonia, do this well. For example, the iconic brand focused its Black Friday saving message on helping to save an endangered part of Alaska’s wilderness.

In a season that’s most often defined by American consumerism, it’s the iconic brands that bring meaningful value to the season and into the lives of their customers that will capture much-desired consumer attention.

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