How Holiday Marketing Can Help Enhance your Brand Image The right approach and tactics can help brands build customer trust and credibility while increasing holiday sales.

By Jessica Wong

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This is the time of year when marketers and marketing strategists start talking about little else but winning holiday marketing strategies. It is easy to dismiss holiday marketing as a purely seasonal activity, but brands that take that view may be missing out. Holiday marketing offers excellent opportunities for brand building that stand the test of time and can support a brand throughout the following year.

Related: 6 Things to Consider for Putting Together Your Best Holiday Marketing Plan Yet

Holiday marketing matters

In the United States, seasonal retail is big business for online and brick-and-mortar retailers. By default, that means holiday marketing strategies and campaigns are important milestones in the marketing calendar for retail brands.

Because of their importance — and the amount of marketing budget and resources dedicated to them — it would be wasteful not to use holiday marketing campaigns to build long-term brand reputation.

Related: 6 Things to Consider for Putting Together Your Best Holiday Marketing Plan Yet

How holiday marketing can support brand building

A company's brand is more than its name, tagline, and logo. A brand also comprises stakeholders' physical and emotional associations with the business and the overall customer experience. In short, a company's brand is what makes it unique and sets it apart from its competitors.

Branding or brand building includes all activities that help develop the company's brand. Granted, design and logos belong under this umbrella but so does every customer interaction with a brand. From how a brand presents itself on social media to the response customers receive when they contact the support team, every interaction or touchpoint contributes to the brand's public perception.

During a time like the end-of-year holidays, holiday marketing creates more touchpoints between consumers and brands than at other times of the year. Because of that, holiday marketing is ideally placed to support brand building. Some of the most powerful holiday marketing strategies combine holiday sales with long-term brand building. Those strategies include influencer marketing, exclusive holiday giveaways, and holiday email marketing.

Use influencer marketing to drive holiday sales and strengthen brands

Influencer marketing can take a brand's holiday sales to the next level while laying the foundations for long-term customer relationships. Partnering with the right influencer who aligns well with your brand and your products can build consumer trust more quickly than other forms of marketing.

The reason for the rise of influencer marketing is simple: people like to buy from people they trust. A genuine influencer review or recommendation will always be a more authentic endorsement than the brand's blog, for example. Setting up an influencer relationship as part of a brand's holiday marketing strategy is a great start. However, influencer marketing often develops its true strength over several months. Agreeing to a partnership that reaches beyond the holidays allows your brand to benefit from sales now and improved branding over time.

Related: Influencer Marketing 101: A Blueprint for Running a Successful Campaign

Select an exclusive holiday giveaway

Hand on heart, is there anyone reading this who does not love a good giveaway? Holiday giveaways on websites or social media pages are an excellent way to drive sales while establishing a long-term relationship between a customer and a brand.

From a brand-building point of view, some of the most effective giveaways require users to share a story or comment on a post. Think of each time someone shares a post or a video as an endorsement of your brand by that person. Their friends will see the act of sharing as a recommendation of the products and services or the brand as a whole.

The endorser's audience may even decide to share the content or start following the brand. As a result, marketers drive short-term holiday sales while building lasting customer relationships. To be successful, a giveaway campaign during the holidays needs to feature an exclusive prize coveted by the brand's target audience. After all, any marketing activity around that time of the year is in danger of being lost in the noise of holiday marketing overall.

Related: 6 Simple Tips for Standing out on Google During the Holiday Season

Holiday email marketing

Email marketing has been a staple for digital marketers for over two decades. Approaching consumers this way allows companies to place their messages right in front of a customer, in their inboxes. Email marketing campaigns are easy to personalize. Personalization helps to inspire brand loyalty and create a stronger, lasting bond between a brand and its audience. With the right tone and content, email marketing makes the recipient feel like they have been contacted personally by the brand.

In addition, email marketing is highly cost-effective. Combining it with an exclusive seasonal giveaway will drive sales straightaway. Offering an incentive to encourage new subscribers is an excellent way of expanding a brand's audience and building a customer relationship in the long term.

Make holiday marketing work harder

It is easy to dismiss holiday marketing for eCommerce businesses and other brands as a seasonal activity. Take a closer look, and it becomes clear just how much more holiday marketing can achieve for developing a brand.

By choosing the right approach and tactics, brands have an opportunity to build trust and credibility with their customers while benefiting from increased sales during the holiday period. Well-designed holiday marketing campaigns can solidify a brand's position in its market. Leading holiday campaigns have become iconic — think of the Coca-Cola Christmas truck. This campaign has a broader impact than simply driving soft drink sales over a few weeks. By putting branding first in your holiday marketing activity, your brand can reap those benefits, too.

Jessica Wong

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder and CEO of Valux Digital and uPro Digital.

Jessica is the Founder and CEO of nationally recognized marketing and PR firms, Valux Digital and uPro Digital. She is a digital marketing and PR expert with more than 20 years of success driving bottom-line results for clients through innovative marketing programs aligned with emerging strategies.

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