From niche e-commerce sites to brick and mortar boutiques, the holiday season signifies a boost in sales for retail brands of all shapes and sizes.
This consumer spending increase is also an opportunity for brands to create memorable in-store experiences that keep consumers coming back year after year.
If you’d like to dazzle and captivate your shoppers this season, here are four examples of holiday branding at its best.
Window Displays: The Original Holiday Branding
During the heightened traffic of holiday months, window displays help retail brands attract consumers and draw them into stores.
Nancy Hansell, senior strategist at branding firm Siegel+Gale, says “window displays, and holiday windows in particular, are really effective in helping brands elevate themselves beyond a transactional experience and remind people of the wonders of shopping.”
From spending epicenters like Macy’s to mall stores like Anthropologie, window displays play an important role in establishing traditional and authentic holiday shopping experiences.
Macy’s: A Seasonal Shopping Tradition Macy’s is a perfect example of a brand whose holiday shopping experience has been transformed into a quintessential tradition.
“Macy’s windows have become an iconic, important tourist visit” says Roya Sullivan, national window director at Macy’s.
As competition for shoppers increases, these displays–which attract millions of international travelers to New York City each year–have gotten increasingly more elaborate.
For example, Macy’s 2014 display used high-definition video monitors to tell the magical story of a young boy celebrating christmas on different planets.
Anthropologie: Building Extraordinary Experiences Newer brands are also influencing consumer perception through handmade holiday shopping experiences.
Popular retail brand Anthropologie taps display coordinators at each brick and mortar location to create window displays from scratch.
With a tight budget of just $5,000 (New York City’s window displays cost millions, for perspective) display artists are encouraged to make props by hand and repurpose items from years gone past.
This approach fits into Anthropologie’s overall brand mission.
According to Jill Gallenstein, eastern regional display manager at Anthropologie, this process “makes our store experience: the ordinary to extraordinary, the handmade detail.”
In addition to the elaborate and authentic methods of retail locations, e-commerce companies are also finding innovative new ways to approach holiday branding.
E-commerce: Beyond Advertising With Digital Storytelling
It’s no surprise that today’s holiday shoppers are attracted to the convenience and speed of online shopping.
In fact, it is predicted that 46% of all holiday shopping will occur online this year, According to the NRF.
While this means more traffic for e-commerce brands, it also means greater competition.
To stand out amidst email blasts and product bundles, tech-savvy brands like Kate Spade and John Lewis are leveraging video to engage customers and encourage holiday sales.
Kate Spade: #MissAdventure One example of a clever holiday video campaign is Kate Spade’s #MissAdventure video series.
After last year’s successful ad campaign featuring Anna Kendrick, Spade brought the actress back for a new set of holiday shorts.
Kate Spade’s most recent ad shows Kendrick getting into a car with Girls star, Zosia Mamet. After the Taxi driver leaves the two women alone in the back of the car, the two begin an entertaining conversation and end up becoming friends.
While the brand name and products are made clear in these humorous advertisements, these videos focus much more on character, plot and dialogue instead of explicit product promotion.
This approach is successful because it offers value to the consumer, who can relate to the story. When other brands are simply pushing sales and deals during the holidays, genuine storytelling is a smart way to stand out.
John Lewis: Charitable and Heartwarming Another example of enticing video advertising this year comes from John Lewis. Their ad features a young girl who, after looking through a telescope, notices a lonely old man living on the moon.
After longing to make contact with the old man, the girl is finally able to use balloons to float him a gift on Christmas. The telescope she sends enables him to finally see her and experience holiday joy.
This heartwarming campaign follows the brand’s tagline, “show someone they’re loved this Christmas” and supports their annual giving campaign.
The charitable twist on this video resonates with people in two important ways. First, it makes them want to donate and be part of the giving campaign. Secondly, it makes consumers more willing to shop from an organization that’s using their power to do good.
Holiday Branding and Your Company
The most successful holiday branding is clever, authentic and true to a brand’s core values.
Specifically, brick and mortar brands can look to curate traditional shopping experiences through window displays, and e-commerce brands can focus on authentic digital storytelling instead of advertising.
For more tips on how to create memorable brand experiences, check out this post, titled 3 Ways Branding Makes Your Company Infinitely More Valuable, and this article on Sprite’s experience design experiment.