The Differing Styles of Winter Marketing
Cold weather is upon us! This chilly season brings with it the launch of winter marketing campaigns by companies around the world. While many of these campaigns balance nostalgia with an air of sophistication, others can fall a bit behind the mark.
We see snowy forest scenes, sleds, snowmen and other stereotypical winter imagery in many marketing campaigns. This serves a good purpose – a lot of people respond well to over-the-top winter marketing strategies. In fact, these images are a big part of what makes the season so fun!
However, not everyone falls in love with these cheesy, childlike winter images. These marketing campaigns can even turn potential customers off to your products and services. These consumers tend to have a more refined palate, geared toward muted colors, soft music, and the more elegant aspects of the season.
So how can you update your marketing campaigns to cater to the more sophisticated among us? Is it possible to keep the nostalgia of the season and target a wider audience? The answer to both of these questions lies in the use of alternative winter imagery and emotions, as well as a focus on the warmth of “hearth and home.”
Focus on Human Connection
We often overlook the passion of a roaring fire because thoughts of bitter cold commutes, icy road conditions, and last minute grocery store rushes to grab essentials before a snowstorm consumes us. However, the winter season can also mark a time when people feel more connected to their families, their friends, their communities, and their romantic partners. There’s a reason why engagements spike at Valentine’s Day – besides the romantic nature of the holiday, the cold weather inspires human connection, coziness, and warmth!
Use these emotions to your advantage in your marketing campaign. Incorporating images of romantic love, family, and warmth can increase sentiment without seeming too over-the-top.
- Romance: images of a couple holding hands, kissing by a crackling fire, or spending time at home can evoke warm feelings of love. Keep this emotion subtle for ultimate effectiveness.
- Familial love: use images of families spending time together, sledding, skiing, or walking through a winter scene.
- Warmth and coziness: wintertime is a season when we spend lots of time inside to avoid cold temperatures. Roasting chestnuts on an open fire, curling up with a cup of hot cocoa or tea, and snuggling under sweaters, blankets, or scarves can all increase the warmth of a marketing campaign.
Use Balanced Nostalgia
Nostalgic images, such as old-fashioned family sleigh rides and references to popular winter movies, can be a powerful tool in marketing. However, too much nostalgia can come off as overpowering or distract from the advertised product or service.
When designing your winter marketing campaign, aim to use nostalgia in a balanced manner. Include warmer versions of classic winter colors and patterns in clothing, background, and text. Use deep navy blues instead of lighter ice blues, and complement with ivory and off-white instead of stark, snowy whites. Favor gold accents over silver. Make clever references to classic winter movies, such as one-liners that recall popular movie moments.
Make Your Digital Campaigns Interactive
Many digital campaigns scream loudly about massive sales, in-store offers, and online blowouts. These images do not foster a connection with your audience. Instead, they continue to perpetuate images of mass consumerism, to which many people do not respond well. Creating an interactive digital winter campaign can draw your customers into your marketing strategy and subsequently connect with your company.
Instagram Stories are an effective way to introduce an interactive campaign.
- Instagram Story polls allow your followers to vote on topics. You can use this feature to quiz your followers on different winter-related facts, company information, and anything else you can think of. You can also use this feature to gauge customers’ opinions about the winter season, products, and anything else related to your campaign.
- The Questions feature enables your followers to ask your company about anything they want. You can answer these questions in subsequent story posts. Encourage your followers to submit questions for an advertised Q&A with company leadership. Answer questions related to upcoming products and services. You can even prompt your followers to ask your office fun winter-related questions to break up marketing monotony.
- Consider going live around your office. If your company is decorating for Valentine’s Day, hosting an event, or even hosting an informal Q&A session, a live video allows you to connect directly with your Instagram followers. You can use this live video to encourage followers to participate in any promotions you’re running.
- The sliding-scale widget you can add onto Stories allows your followers to rate whatever you can imagine. For example, you can ask your followers to rate new products, winter movies, songs, and cold weather activities.
Use Your Campaign to Make Winter Easier
Many people dislike winter due to the stress of treacherous roads, bundling up every time they have to go out, and cabin fever from being stuck in the house during blustery winter storms. Using your marketing campaign to highlight the ways that your company can help make winter easier is an effective way to market to those who are less-than-enthusiastic about the season.
- Market your products as affordable gift solutions.
- Highlight how your services can relieve stress during the season.
- Promote your online store as a way to find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift.
- Highlight how your products and services can allow people to spend more time with their families. For example, if you run a restaurant or catering company, promote family Valentine’s celebrations incorporating larger parties, rather than just couples.
Delve Into Philanthropy
Mass consumerism and shopping crowds have tainted the image of the winter season. Presidents’ Day sales, Valentine’s Day madness, and overcrowded shopping centers can turn many people off from winter shopping altogether. As a result, marketing campaigns that are overly superficial and materialistic also fall flat with this demographic.
An easy counterbalance to this image is to partner with a nonprofit or charity during the winter. Find a nonprofit organization in your community, such as a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or domestic violence safe home. Have your team volunteer with this organization. Encourage your social network to donate to your partner during the season.
Make a commitment to donate a portion of proceeds from a product or service to the charity. You can create a special product or service to sell for the charity specifically. You can use this partnership to launch a marketing campaign surrounding your affiliation to boost sales and the size of your donation. Better yet, commit to donating a certain percentage of proceeds from all sales during a specific time frame to the charity.
Practice Corporate Social Responsibility
Partnering with a charitable organization will signal to your audience that your company is making a commitment to corporate social responsibility. You’re also signaling that your company’s focus is not on the materialistic nature of the season. However, it’s important that your company fully commit to giving back during this season. Not only is taking advantage of a charity unethical, it can completely backfire and lead to a PR disaster.
When partnering with a nonprofit, choose a cause that truly matters to you. Encourage your team to donate their time and money outside of company time, and to spread awareness of the cause. If you truly believe in the cause, it will shine through in your marketing campaign.