Marketing Strategy

Should you make an emotional connection with your customers?

Christmas seems to have appeared everywhere over the last couple of weeks. Shops are filled with Christmas displays and offers and my inbox is filled with Christmas emails.  For me, I know Christmas is coming as soon as the Christmas adverts appear on TV. As a strategic marketer, I always wait in anticipation to see what strategy the big brands and retailers will apply.

The advertising strategy that a brand takes at Christmas time can have a massive impact on their sales.  Getting it right is critical.  There are a few moves that I’ve noticed so far.. and I’m sure there will be more.

1. John Lewis

The new John Lewis Christmas 2012 advert – The Journey – was released on Friday. This advert tells a story about a journey that a snowman takes to buy a gift for his snowwoman – a  gift comprised of gloves, a scarf and a hat. The advert makes an emotional connection, as you see the story unfold while listening to “The power of Love”.

When I looked this morning, the video on YouTube had already been viewed 861,908 times. John Lewis claims the ad had already been mentioned 33,000 times on Twitter by yesterday afternoon and the music track, Gabrielle Aplin’s cover of ‘The Power of Love’’ went into the iTunes chart at number eight within 24 hours of the ad first being aired.

Craig Inglis, marketing director at John Lewis, said: “It is clear from the incredible reaction in the social media that our Christmas advert has once again struck a chord with the nation. We didn’t think it was possible for the response to be bigger than last year’s success but the volume of comments suggests that is exactly what happened.”

2. Waitrose

Waitrose has opted for a plain and simple advert – Giving more this Christmas, stating that they are spending less on their advert so they can give more to charity. Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal, who appear in the advert are both waiving their appearance fees in support of the idea.  Waitrose’s Marketing Director, Rupert Thomas, said: “At what is a difficult time for many people across Britain, we feel that Christmas is the right time to give more back to good causes in the communities we serve.

When I looked this morning, the video had been viewed 59,634 times.

3. Coca Cola

I know Christmas season has arrived when I see the traditional, iconic,  Coca Cola advert and hear “the holidays are coming”. It marks the beginning of the festive season. The advert boldly keeps with tradition, something that many of us find so important at Christmas – family traditions.

What makes a great advert and a successful holiday campaign?

In my opinion, a campaign that makes a strong emotional connection with people is most successful. Brands that make an emotional connection with their customers, successfully, are stronger, more memorable brands. Emotion tends to dictate our response – they charge us, moving us away or towards something. Ultimately, we’ll have to wait to see the Christmas retail figures to see how well any of these ads performed.

When you are deciding your next campaign idea, think again about how you can make an emotional connection with your customers.  It works. I know I will certainly be checking out what John Lewis has on offer this year.  I’ll be stocking up on Coca Cola for when guests stop by my house, and I will certainly remember to donate money to charity this year, I always do. I might pop into Waitrose to buy a few special bits for christmas, but I will do the bulk of my food shopping as Tesco – where every little helps!

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