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Holiday Marketing: How to engage with your followers

by | Business, Marketing

Holidays are an important part of every human being. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Labor Day, Mothers’ and Fathers’ day are just among some of the dates people have marked on their schedules.

In the spirit of being also more human, brands should not overlook these dates as an opportunity to celebrate along with customers, especially in moments like these where social media is embedded more than ever in everyone’s life.

So, what exactly is Holiday Marketing?

Holiday Marketing is the set of planned actions that any brand set up to celebrate special dates together with its audience. It is critical to highlight that brands should do this not as the protagonist but instead as the sidekick that makes the story complete.

The worst any brand could do is to try to steal the spotlight from its customers for the sake of celebrating a holiday.

You need to add joy, not to steal it

Social Media makes it easier for brands to connect with users in ways that were not imaginable 15 years ago. Take Oreo as an example:

For the 2020 Halloween season, they leveraged on UGC (User Generated Content), promoting their followers to share and tag them on posts with spooky recipes for Halloween night treats.

People started sharing recipes using Oreo cookies of all kinds. The brand reposted many of them to appreciate the creativity and love their customers had for the famous chocolate cookies.

They achieved to connect with people who were engaged with them online and loyal to their product. If your recipe were shared and noted by the official Oreo account, you would probably end up being even more fascinated with the brand.

They complimented the overall Halloween experience for their followers, and this is more valuable and lasting than if they were posting a fantastic set of videos or pictures.

Oreo Halloween 2020 Instagram Post
Oreo Halloween 2020 Instagram Post
Oreo Halloween 2020 Instagram Post

Source: Oreo’s Instagram Account

Starbucks Red Cup Art

Help yourself to enlarge your online footprint

As mentioned before, Oreo took advantage of this UGC to engage their following, but they also managed to increase the reach of their campaign. Many users started posting pictures and videos of their recipes using Oreo cookies and tagging them, making the brand noticeable to other users, thus making the campaign reach even more people online.

Another brand that leveraged on UGC around holidays was Starbucks back in 2016 with the #RedCupArt campaign, where they wanted to highlight the creativity of their customers when drawing and decorating their Christmas edition’ red cups.

Not only social media

It may seem that brands are only using digital actions for taking advantage of Holiday Marketing, but nothing further from the truth.

Reese’s, for example, came up with a creative campaign amid the COVID-19 pandemic to make trick or treaters Halloween less traumatic with the #ReesesDoor: An automatic door that handed chocolates with no contact.

These actions may be small and little impactful on the customers’ base of any brand but think about the loyalty that can be ignited just by that unique experience.

Whenever designing marketing actions, you have to keep in mind your customers’ journey and how each touchpoint can make a difference in the experience and remembrance they will have about your brand.


Source: Reese’s’ Instagram Account

Mix, Match, and Win

There will be a few moments when brands can win on multiple levels when deploying a marketing campaign.

One example could be Procter & Gamble’s 2012 Mother’s Day campaign. They managed to mix the Olympic games with the dedication, love, and support that moms have for athletes throughout their lives.

They launched a series of commercials and other collaterals that conveyed the important role mothers had in any Olympic athlete’s failures and successes.

Although stereotypical at moments, the message permeates, mainly because of the invisible presence of P&G’s products in many of the tasks performed by the depicted moms in the campaign (cooking, washing uniforms, etc.)

Holidays that connect with values

Not all holidays are created equal. Nowadays, people are more attached to specific causes and values that reflect their core beliefs; therefore, holidays representing or highlighting those values have become more and more relevant.

Earth day, Pride day and many more are among those special holidays. Ben & Jerry’s have always been relatively outspoken about the environment, social justice, and local producers. The brand has also leveraged global warming and climate change on earth day to make the case and encourage their followers to raise their voice to generate more awareness of these issues.

What Ben & Jerry’s manages with this approach is to be closer and more human to their customers and followers, thus, being less intrusive with their marketing actions.

Ben & Jerry's earth day

What do you need to jump on board the Holiday Marketing train?

If you want to follow the steps of some of these brands, I will share some steps I’d recommend you follow:

  1. Have your brands’ values straight and clear:

You could not start planning for anything if you don’t know which direction you should go. Have your core values listed and choose which issues or topics do you wish to exploit.

  1. Find and list the holidays related to your values:

Nowadays, there’s a national (or international) day for almost anything: dogs, cats, veganism, racial equality, and much more. Also, keep in mind more traditional holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, Labor Day, etc.

  1. Layout a marketing schedule for the key dates:

Define an action plan for your marketing actions on those dates. It may be useful to separate actions depending on their nature: social media, street marketing, guerrilla marketing, teasers, etc.

  1. Define your marketing action(s) as you would do in your marketing mix:

Describe anything important, also keep in mind the responsible department, budget, timing, and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure the impact and rate of success of each action.

  1. Prepare for any contingency:

Even when you may think your campaign is harmless and it will not push anyone’s button, make sure to have a crisis protocol should things go hectic. P&G’s got some backlash for its Mothers’ Day campaign for reinforcing the typical women stereotype, and they had to do some damage control on that. So be prepared for fixing any misunderstanding that could surface from your campaign.

  1. Execute, measure, and enjoy:

Make sure to measure the impact, reach, conversions, or anything that could be useful to know how good (or bad) your campaign performed so that you can keep learning and improving for the next campaigns.


Your “Why” is more important than any other thing.

No matter how good your campaign may be, the real important thing to remember is, why are you doing it.

When you look at Ben & Jerry’s marketing strategy, it’s clear that they do not only run campaigns for critical dates to improve their engagement with their customers. They have these campaigns embedded in their core strategy, making it one of the keystones of the relationship they want to develop with their followers.

Always remember that people want to forge relationships with humans and not things. Ensure your brand acts more like a human (or group of humans) and less as a robot, and success will be guaranteed.

Do you need help looking for a marketing strategy that portrays the human side of your brand? Try to follow some of the tips I have shared in this post, and do not hesitate to get in touch with me should you need any help with it.