Christmas is without a doubt one of the greatest stories ever told. It has been passed along through thousands of years, told by both oral and written traditions and has withstood the sands of time. Was Jesus secretly a Branding Genius? We’d say so!
Why is the Christmas story so memorable? A large part is because simply put, stories stick. Stories have staying power. Even bad ones!
Which should be a cautionary tale for many businesses. Not all attention is good attention. A negative story can hurt your brand every bit as much as a positive story can help it. Though Christmas today is quite different than what it might have looked like 2000 years ago, with consumerism on the rise and no signs of slowing down, its roots still remain. And that’s what brands today are catching on to. Storytelling. Or rather, story selling.
Today’s brands are using storytelling more than ever in branding campaigns. Nevermore so than during the holidays as a way to engage and connect with consumers. But how do you go about doing it successfully? Keep reading for a few tips for your next holiday branding campaign.
Best Tactics for Story Sell—We Mean Telling!
Story First, Brand Second
Consider keeping narrative as the focal point of your ad campaign. Think of your brand more like a sponsor or narrator for the ad, rather than the ad focus. That means your brand might not even be seen until the last slide. This can be bold, but risky as well. Some people may not engage, but then again, some just might. Make sure whatever story you use; it drives home your brand mission and values and speaks to your core audience. Think about Coca Cola’s Make Someone Happy campaign. The narrative of the story was performing random acts of kindness during the Christmas season, but the product itself was only used in strategic placements. Story first, brand second.
Big Brand Reveal
Another bold move is keeping your brand under wraps until a big reveal at the end. This tactic forces people to make associations between your story you’re presenting and your brand. It makes for quite an effective strategy which is why it’s so popular!
Run a Brand Feature
This tactic is fairly self-explanatory. Your brand is essentially the focus of the ad, whether you build it out around your brand, or you use your brand as a visible, key element of the ad story. The Build Your Lego Christmas campaign is a great example of this strategy. The girl uses Legos to re-create the Christmas star her brother broke. This was the first instance of the Lego brand. Additionally, the Lego logo is on display throughout the entire campaign. Obvious? Yes. Effective? Extremely!
Or take the Hershey’s Kisses “Christmas Bells” campaign—it’s over 30 years old yet still wildly effective with no signs of being canned. It’s a choir of Hershey Kiss handbells ringing out the song, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and ends with one little Kiss exhausted by its own enthusiasm, wiping its “brow.” While this isn’t a story per se, you can see how prominently the Hershey’s brand is driving the campaign and it has a cute factor that appeals to consumers and sticks in their mind.
There is no denying that story-driven ads are extremely successful for holiday branding campaigns. Or any campaign, really. Stories evoke emotion and somehow entangles themselves as part of the human experience. If your brand can master the art of storytelling, it too can be woven into the fabric of the human experience.