By the time the middle of December rolls around, it can feel like winter has already been here for a lifetime. Sadly though, not to be the bearer of bad news to any summer-lovers with a natural inclination for longer days and lighter skies out there, but winter doesn’t officially start until the 21st of December. With Christmas on the mind of every man, woman, and excitable child, you can be excused for forgetting that winter goes far beyond the holidays. That's why it's so important that your brand looks past the advent calendar and plans for the sometimes tumultuous and confusing road beyond the festivities so when the dust settles and the leftovers are all gone, your brand knows coming up next.
With Christmas being such a hectic time for marketing departments doing everything they can to deliver the gift of a successful campaign for their brands and businesses right up until the evening of the 24th, it’s easy to forget that there’s a world beyond the 25th. No sooner than you digest your Christmas dinner, it’s time to focus on what comes next whether that’s Boxing Day sales or New Year’s Eve’s celebrations. Just because the Christmas rush is over, that doesn’t mean it’s time to put your feet up just yet. Without the appropriate plans in place, your brand could be playing catch up, or even worse, you could be missing out. As the festivities wind down and the new year commences, it can be a question of what next?
Returning to the office after the highs of spending quality time with your loved ones can sometimes feel like a bit of a slog. Getting back into a routine where creativity flourishes can be a task, and that’s why it’s so important to have planned any aims, goals, and messaging so you don’t waste any more time upon returning. By looking beyond the festivities, you’re saving yourself the trouble later on so, by the time you’re back at your desk, you can hit the ground running. Creativity is the key in planning ahead so you know whether your brand is already pushing through winter to provide some summer escapism and looking ahead with travel deals or swimwear offers (it’s no surprise swimming shorts and bikini’s go on sale in January), or you’re fully embracing the winter months by looking at how your brand, product, or service fully fits into your audiences plans to stay home and nestle in the warmth of their couch. Maybe the secret to providing some joy in the January lull is a well-timed giveaway or competition to raise spirits? Planning in advance of coming back to work can give your brand some much need breathing space so you can focus on the wider business goals of new year’s resolutions and the positive changes you can make internally whether that’s introducing new products or services later down the line, becoming more socially conscious, or creating stronger brand loyalty by engaging with your audience more often. With the appropriate winter plans already in place, you can lay foundations for the road ahead.
Now, we aren’t saying it's already time to throw your Christmas tree into the woodchipper. You’ve not even carved the turkey yet. Christmas and New Years’ content is still important for your messaging but it’s just as important that your brand is ready to swiftly move on from the holidays and onto what’s next so that there’s no drop in messaging or awareness into the new year. That's the benefit, and importance, of planning ahead. Between the festivities, new year celebrations, and the new year itself, there’s plenty to speak about for the holiday period and beyond. Nostalgia and connection can be a great tool to utilise throughout winter. When the weather drops and the cold hits, consumers look for comfort. Marketing campaigns will often look to capitalise on this by promoting a feeling of connection, familiarity, and warmth. Creating content and using a tone of voice that provides comfort and familiarity can help to provoke emotions of nostalgia and connection between your brand and its audience. Thinking about how your brand or service can help to provide a sense of warmth and comfort is the key here, and it’s something you should use to your advantage. Better yet, you might not even have to do the work yourself. Instead, promote or encourage user-generated content where your audience themselves can shine a light on how your brand fits into their winter plans.
Winter's not always romanticised and picturesque though. The balance between creating comfort and going over the top with sentimentally is a fine line - one that many brands have found themselves on the wrong side of, becoming a bit too cheesy in the process. No two customers are the same, and not everyone has the familiar fondness and warmth for colder weather and darker days. For some, looking to get away from winter could provide all the comfort they need. Not every brand lends itself particularly well to winter and that's fine! Instead, you can focus on getting your audience through to the other side of the season by providing some much-needed escapism and the promise of an oh-so-sweet getaway. Whilst winter can be melancholic for many, with feelings of cabin fever and isolation common, an empathetic tone of voice and appropriate content can help to focus on the very best parts of the season, and how your brand can create positive sensations and emotions through the products and services you offer.
Even if you spend all day crawling through travel sites looking at sunny getaways and idyllic beaches, there’s got to be a part of you, no matter how small, that appreciates how pretty winter can be. Beyond all the Christmas imagery you’d come to expect, there is plenty on offer to use for the rest of winter. Snowy forest scenes. The warmth of the fireplace and cosy blankets. Snowmen and sledging. 4-day old melting snow and sludge in the drains. Maybe forget that last one. Although not necessarily reflecting the consistent reality of a UK winter, the season does offer a catalogue of aesthetically-pleasing visuals that are perfect for socials, promoting a sense of connection, warmth, and nostalgia that your brand can tap into for its own benefit. By transforming your socials, digital assets, and marketing materials into a picturesque winter scene, and looking at how your products slot in, you can cash in on the nostalgia and the warmth that winter can provoke within your audience. Using these emotions to your advantage can create a greater sense of loyalty and connection with your brand and even though it might seem a bit sappy and twee, it's effective.
As much as it can seem it, winter doesn’t last forever. As January wears on and the weeks fly by, you’re not going to want to be using icy colour palettes as we battle through February and approach March. Whilst it’s not quite time to get the sunnies out just yet, no harm in laying the foundations early. A seamless transition from the colder hues of winter to the more optimistic and brighter palette of the approaching spring can help to keep your visuals and marketing materials moving along with a steady consistency as winter comes to its end.