Thought Leaders in association withPartners in Crime

The Holiday Season Will Be Unremarkable. And Brands Need To Be Ok With It.

Advertising Agency
New York, USA
Toby Boff, strategist, and Hayley Yerkes, associate strategy director at Giant Spoon, on why the opportunity exists in the mundane during Christmas 2020
It’s easy to reminisce over Black Friday blitzes and experiential winter wonderlands. Time-honored family traditions and gifting bonanzas. But this year, people aren’t expecting that vision for the holidays. 71% of Americans believe their holiday traditions will change, and values around “materialism” and “self-fulfilment” are rapidly declining amongst consumers. 

The biggest opportunity for holiday magic in 2020 exists in the mundane moments. To win the Holidays, obsess over uncovering these brand touchpoints that currently exist in an unmagical world. 

Bring Delight To Customers Everywhere But The Store

We’ll see a new version of Santa’s sleigh as parents hit “buy” online and pick up item after item curbside. 60% of customers who used BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store) since Covid began did so to steer clear of long lines and crowds. Home improvement giant Lowe’s is even offering curbside trick-or-treating this Halloween. Much of this mayhem will also happen in the home, as eCommerce reigns supreme. Desks are now our shopping carts, as “more than $1 in every $5 was spent online in Q2.

Brands have an opportunity to turn the mundane parking lot pickup and one-click buying experience into delightful encounters. Recognize that these transactions are rich customer interactions, ripe for taking an ownable approach to customer service. As eCommerce and new fulfillment strategies dominate, brands have an opportunity to infuse joy and connection into what could become a highly transactional, overly efficient holiday season. 

A Holiday Gift for Your Next Brainstorm: Is the next frontier of brand placements on eCommerce packaging, or in the hands of delivery couriers? Conversely, many businesses have massive physical presences currently collecting dust that could otherwise be repurposed for good, perhaps as a toy drive collection site?

Ditch Discounts for a Deeper Purpose

We’re already seeing consumers meaningfully pivot their materialistic mindsets. The draw of massive flash sales and deep discounts feels hollow in a year where communities and individuals have prioritized GoFundMe’s for small businesses and donations to civil rights organizations. With discounts and sales feeling stale, consumers will look to advocacy gifting as a way to deliver purpose to the holidays. 

It's not hard to see this behavior translate to brands, who can be expected to replace or complement deep discounts with CSR initiatives and ethically responsible policies. Take Ikea, who is offering a 'Buy Back Friday’ program to buy back used furniture, timed to coincide with Black Friday. There are issues and movements weighing far more on people’s minds this holiday season than the latest gadget update. Brands should take notice of what gifts shoppers truly have their eyes on this year. 

A Holiday Gift for Your Next Brainstorm: Is Giving Tuesday the unofficial start to the holidays this season? Can brands put their excess inventory to good use post-holiday? 

Scale New Digital Rituals Worth Keeping

The holiday shopping experience of years past left a lot to be desired -- long lines, large crowds, and far too much time spent at the register. With more people shopping from home this year, there’s a real opportunity to make the shopping experience more engaging and entertaining. Why shouldn’t the gift giver get to have some fun too? 

Look to a digitally native younger generation to reorient the holiday magic around shopping experiences, virtually. TikTok live merch drops or RedditGifts exchanges may very well be the new way to give and get this season. While not every brand will target Gen Z this year, brands would be wise to examine the signals and digital behaviors of this audience as an indicator of how we can scale holiday magic virtually. 

A Holiday Gift for Your Next Brainstorm: Will shopping sprees take place on an inaugural Instagram ‘Unwrapping Reels’ event? Brands could even play a meaningful role in helping accelerate analog traditions, like letters to Santa or holiday cards, into the digital space.

So this year, obsess over your parking lot, not your showroom. Obsess over Giving Tuesday, not Cyber Monday. Obsess over your livestream shopping event, not your Black Friday lines. Pinpoint these unremarkable touchpoints and infuse them with a much needed dose of holiday magic.

Toby Boff is strategist and Hayley Yerkes is associate strategy director at Giant Spoon

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