Holiday Marketing Ideas for Challenger Brands

If you want an example of holiday marketing done right, look no further than gorilla brand Starbucks Coffee. The mega-chain’s cheery decorations and heart-warming holiday drinks become ubiquitous during the November and December months. People are drawn to the stores like moths to a flame for their sweet, seasonal coffee drinks, pastries and gifts. It’s a one-stop shop for all your holiday needs.

But even more thrilling than the return of the Peppermint Mocha is Starbucks’ red holiday cup. People get really excited about those cups. On November 1st there was a downpour of press releases, blog posts, tweets (try searching #redcups) and Instagram photos to celebrate their return. There is even a website solely dedicated to the cup, CountdowntoRedCups.com.

Why all the hullabaloo about a paper cup? There is something special about the holiday season that makes rational people act irrationally and buy, buy, buy, because “Christmas is magical!” The red cup has come to symbolize the holidays, and thus people covet it.

Challenger Brand marketers can learn from the Starbucks red cup by creating their own symbol of holiday spirit. Whether it’s a card, a giveaway, or making all your employees dress up as Santa every day in December, it’s easy to take advantage of the holiday madness with smart marketing. Pick any one, or all, of these ideas and get in on the jolly action:

  • Send a holiday card – People love getting mail but they also hate getting junk. So if you do send out holiday cards, try to make them as personal as possible. Put them in an envelope, address customers by name and even include hand-written notes if possible. Customer base too large for that? Select your most loyal and high-spending friends for the VIP treatment.
  • Offer a discount or free gift – Create a special coupon (a perfect addition to that holiday card you’re going to send out) or offer a gift with purchase. Branded holiday ornaments and chocolates are both widely popular options.
  • Decorate your space – Whether you have a brick and mortar store or your business is entirely online, show you aren’t a Grinch by decorating your storefront. On your website, a festive banner on the homepage will do. For real stores, twinkly string lights are a romantic and traditional choice.
  • Do some charity work – The holidays are not just about buying things. They are also about giving back to the community and those less fortunate. Designate a day for your employees to volunteer at a soup kitchen or collect toys for underprivileged children. Charity efforts like these are great for your brand image, can be a bonding experience for your team, and will result in a staggering amount of good aura.

It only takes a small effort for Challenger Brands to take advantage of the holiday spirit through intelligent marketing. You’ll see profits – and smiles – increase.

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