Winter is coming and for many of us that means the holidays are right around the corner. And while holidays aren’t just at the end of the year (ahem, check out our holiday social cal!), it’s still a time for brand creatives to consider what messages they are crafting.
Holiday campaigns are made up of many moving parts; messaging, slogans, products, timelines, delivery dates, pictures of cats, etc. Here’s my take on why inclusive holiday campaigns matter and some strategies on how to approach them.
Remember inclusive holiday campaigns matter.
When we feel included, we feel part of a shared experience. Inclusive holiday campaigns have a direct effect on our perception of the brands involved and inform how we feel about them. When done right, they help build our trust with the company/organization behind the campaign. We feel included when the imagery used in holiday campaigns represents us, and when the messaging speaks to us.
For example Airbnb celebrates the holiday spirit and the people who make their mission come to life in this video.
Inclusive campaigns also remind us that we have more in common than divides us. Today, we need this refreshing reminder more than ever. Consider how your brand can tap into this universal message, and other universal messages like hope, sacrifice, family, and love.
Make it about relationships.
Creating inclusive holiday campaigns involves creating messages about relationships. Instead of saying something about Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza Day, perhaps use inclusive phrases about relationships with loved ones, family, and friends. Think about how it’s a time of gathering (virtually, too), and a time to express love, whether that be through giving, receiving, spending time together, or many other ways.
If your brand story does have roots in a holiday, it’s okay to be specific. You don’t need to shy away from celebrating those moments, because they represent your brand. Instead, use them as an invitation to invite everyone into that universal message of love or family. Which leads us to …
To be inclusive, it can be tempting to just place photos of diverse folks in your campaign. Pause, and check in with the purpose. Are you trying to increase representation for those you reach out to and serve? Or are you just checking a box and creating performative inclusivity? Although this is tempting, your audience can tell when a brand is being performative.
Be sure to represent authentically to your brand. And think beyond just the visuals and messaging – how is your delivery inclusive? Who is getting this message and who is not? Why? What emotions are you trying to elicit?
These are all important questions to ask when approaching campaigns inclusively.
So there are our three strategies to create more inclusive holiday campaigns. We’d love to hear from you – how does your brand approach holiday campaigns and messaging? Where do you feel like you’ve done it well, and where do you have room for improvement? Let us know in the comments!