3 Easy Steps to Embrace Your Holiday Brand Voice During COVID-19

Lyle Ellerbee

How to Differentiate Your Seasonal Marketing Campaign in 2020

When it comes to defining your brand it’s easy to get caught up in the visuals: the logo, the font size of the text, the imagery you want to represent your business…

But defining how you’re going to speak to your customers is essential too.

You may have the most beautiful, speedy and well-stocked website in your industry, but if you don’t have a powerful brand voice, you’re not going to have the impact you want, resulting in disappointing sales.

Voice is your brand’s personality, and it’s always the same. Your tone is what you change depending on context.

Here’s how I remember:

Your personality stays the same (voice), but you express yourself differently (tone) in different situations. For example, your tone may change when you’re having a drink with friends vs. meeting with your financial advisor.

So when you’re designing your seasonal marketing campaign, you want to keep your brand voice consistent, even if your tone is changing in some instances.

Infusing your tone with some holiday cheer, urgency and excitement can be a great way to encourage your audience to do their holiday shopping with you.

Here are some of the benefits of defining your brand voice:

  • It makes your business instantly recognizable.
  • It lets you authentically connect with customers to build relationships vs. just hitting them over the head with sales copy.
  • It helps you deliver consistent messaging, whether you’re writing an email or a video script.
  • It attracts your target audience and keeps them engaged.

Because consumers are being hit with thousands of marketing messages over the holidays, it’s important to consider your voice to differentiate your seasonal marketing campaign.

According to some recent stats, about 45% of Canadians plan to spend less on holiday shopping in 2020 as they did the previous year, so it will be an even bigger challenge to capture their attention.

Step 1: Have you defined your brand voice?

The most important thing to do when you’re choosing your voice is to make it relevant to your customers.

It’s not about the way you like to write or speak-think about who uses your product or service.

You want to talk to your target audience and create an emotional connection to what you’re offering.

Step Two: Take a look back to see what’s worked and what hasn’t.

It’s almost impossible to succeed going forward if you don’t know what’s worked in the past.

If you’ve previously run a seasonal marketing campaign, were there certain taglines or ads that your target audience responded favourably to? Is there data you can look at from last year to drive decisions this year?

While reusing what’s worked in the past can be an efficient and effective technique, consider ways you can freshen up any existing creative.

Update imagery or content so your loyal customers won’t see the same old stuff from last year!

READ: Brand Marketing During Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

Brands are much more than just a visual representation, tagline, jingle or website; and it’s not just something that only the “big guys” should pay attention to.

Your branding represents the total experience of working with you. From your website colours, to your core values, to the customer service you deliver, every touchpoint someone has with you shapes and helps define your messagingâ� -whether their impression is favourable or not.

It’s time to take another look at how we’ve positioned our branding.

Read more on our website.

Step Three: Tap into people’s emotions in a relevant way.

There’s a reason you see so many of those overly sweet TV and digital commercials featuring cute kids and puppies-they work!

If you can connect with your customers authentically while stirring their emotions, it can increase awareness and engagement.

Here’s a commercial Canadian Tire did last year, tugging on heartstrings while bringing in a truly Canadian winter pastime: tobogganing!

It’s important to be thoughtful about how you’re portraying your brand voice and imagery right now.

Many people are going to be staying home this year, foregoing visits with family and friends because of COVID-19. Consumers are stressed out, burned out and uncertain about the future.

Think of ways to be sensitive and use empathetic marketing techniquies to truly connect with your target audience and avoid offending anyone.

Always own your brand voice.

There’s quite a bit of controversy around using words like “Christmas” in a seasonal marketing campaign. Other companies stay away from using traditional imagery such as Christmas trees or nativity scenes.

I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t censor what you say, but this decision relates to your company’s values. Think about what you want your small business to represent and how you want your customers to perceive you-and then stand behind it.

Whether your brand voice is friendly and approachable, formal and professional or playful and silly, using these tactics can help you cut through the noise and create a memorable, meaningful seasonal marketing campaign.

What kind of campaign do you wish to run this year?

To your business success,


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