What kind of Christmas content works?

Christmas, in all its jumper-clad, mince pie-stuffed glory, has descended upon our Manchester office like a ton of snow. Our graphics team have accordingly been hard at work on some festive pieces. Getting the tone and focus right can be tricky, so let’s take a look at what to consider when combining content, and visual content in particular, with Christmas spirit.

For steam model manufacturer Mamod, our team designed an infographic representing the Mamod factory as Santa’s workshop, featuring quirky illustrations of elves at work. Illustration gives a brand space to play, and to tell a story, in this case, the care that goes into model production at Mamod. It’s also a powerful way to differentiate yourself in a season during which every brand is clamouring for the customer’s attention.

Christmas imagery can ignite an instinctive cocktail of associations for the customer, and hence, brands often find it in their interest to focus on building an emotional connection for now, and to put the hard sell approach on the back burner, perhaps for the post-Christmas sales push. The digestible richness of infographics make it an excellent medium for storytelling. The question to consider then is, how can you make the story of your brand, or your product, relevant to your audience?

Tell your customer’s stories

One approach is to tell the story of your customers themselves. Social media is your friend here. For example, why not let your customers be the ones to create the content, and give them the freedom to tell their personal stories of your brand, as Starbucks do with their annual Red Cup Contest?

“People are interested in buying rather than learning”

If aiming for this kind of connection doesn’t fit your brand identity, you may find that Christmas is the time for a more practical focus. When producing content, it’s important to bear in mind how the customer decision journey will be affected as the need to purchase becomes more time-critical in the run-up to Christmas.

“A lot of infographics at Christmas tend to be more product-based, not as heavily stats-based. People are interested in buying, rather than learning,” says Jake, one of our graphic designers.

Gift ideas and guides to festive preparation are great examples of pieces that customers can put into action, and we recently produced a tongue-in-cheek infographic, “How to Drop Gift Hints Like a Pro“, for The Jewellery Channel.

Will this kind of content “fit”?

When it comes to tone, senior content manager Phil advises care. “You’ll probably want to keep it fairly light-hearted, but how will this sit with the rest of the the content? If it sticks out like a sore thumb, it may not add much value and might actually detract from other stuff you’ve done.” The festive season provides a rich source of culture and expectations to draw on, but don’t let this sway you from consistency with your brand’s unique culture, and the expectations your customers have formed around it. The trick is to find where your voice fits in.

Senior designer Toni strikes a gentle balance between seriousness and playfulness in this advert for a Spanish design school. The text reads, “With this rain, why not continue studying?”.

“There’s a saying in Spain, rain with bad times,” he explains. “I wanted to play with the ideas involved.” Below the pertinent allusion to Spain’s unemployment crisis, instantly recognisable Christmas symbols come together in an unusual, whimsical arrangement. The message is presented hopefully, and the prevailing image is one of respite at Christmas.

One final thing: although you’re marketing to people who are statistically more likely to be wearing a silly jumper, than at any other time of the year, the purpose of your content remains the same – to deliver information which is valuable and relevant to your audience. If this is compromised, your content will not achieve the results you need, no matter how many elves it features.

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