Merry Christmas; Managing Communication in a Marketing Minefield
Who would’ve thought, a sincere wish for a happy holiday could be so fraught with peril. Many people see the words Merry Christmas and think of the kind sentiment normally associated with such a greeting. Today however, it can mean so much else. Exclusion, racism, elitism have all become associated with the singling out of one holiday season at the expense of all the others. This doesn’t seem to be much of an issue during Halloween. So much animosity from an originally pagan holiday, adapted and amended as many times as the verbal histories of the Testaments.
Personal feelings aside, there are truly consequences to such words from a business perspective. Choosing from any of the paths below, there are now real consequences from a generally well intentioned Holiday Campaign. There are a few ways to avoid Marketing Minefields, try these approaches:
Hard Line – I’m going to include a single holiday representative of my beliefs. If not my personal beliefs, then the beliefs of a majority of my stakeholders, including customers, shareholders, community members, etc…
Inclusion – Create a message that incorporates the spirit of the season, but doesn’t necessarily focus on one Holiday over another. Think, ‘Season’s Greetings’ and/or ‘Happy Holidays.’ Another path for the inclusive mindset would be to generate creative for each holiday of concern to your constituents.
Cooperative – Incorporate the message of the season in a way that reflects each celebration. Think the Virgin Mobile Christmahanukwanzakah commercials from 2004. Obviously, something that can be misinterpreted and has the potential to be misconstrued as offensive, but done in a comical, inclusive way.
As with all of our clients, we stress the importance of authenticity of voice. Whether a display network ad campaign and/or a well wish shared across Social Media, the message must resonate with your core constituency. If you end up alienating a small portion of potential customers, but your campaign connects with frequent users, there is still a net gain in brand lift. Avoiding this potential Marketing Minefield is the challenge of anyone communicating with clients throughout the holiday season.
As with any form of communication campaign, starting to incorporate a new approach should be done strategically, with performance benchmarks and measurable goals. To start spouting off regarding a topic that isn’t part of the normal strategic approach can be catastrophic. If you need help crafting your holiday message and/or are thinking about rolling out a new digital marketing effort in 2017, we are available to help you #BeSeen & #BeHeard! We’re also here to help you avoid Marketing Minefields. Merry Christmas!