By Giovanni Scopece, art director at FP7 McCann
There’s a great communications medium that often gets overlooked in the sea of big TVCs and digital hero movies: the reactive holiday post.
I’d like to start this article with a somewhat bitter realisation (don’t worry, there’s light at the end of the holiday tunnel). The realisation is that occasions are no longer special, at least not in the social media sense.
Trending culture has created a wave that basically makes every brand feel like it needs to be present in every single talking point of internet culture. This is not a criticism of our culture, but rather a byproduct of consumers’ decreasing attention spans. This, in turn, has forced us as marketers to be constantly present.
The key in these times of overactivity becomes reliant on a few varying factors that set up a formula for success when creating holiday content. Think of it this way: you might see a lot of Ramadan content, but it’s only a few pieces that stick in your mind. Ones created with wit, timeliness and the right format to cut through and drive your recall.
In these times of hyperactivity, a few different factors come down to a formula for success in creating holiday content. Below is a guide to creating the formula for success for responsive content, written from the perspective of an art director and digital specialist who has executed, failed, succeed and learned from previous holiday experiences.
Find your moment
It’s easy for today’s marketers to develop FOMO. The mindset of our hyperactive, calendar-driven way of working requires marketers to think along the lines of, “If I’m not part of the moment, I’m nowhere.” While it’s important to show our customers that we’re present in the moments that matter, it’s important to remember that being there for the sake of being there is just as pointless as not responding to begin with. When planning how to respond to or recognise a trend when the opportunity arises, remember your brand spirit and ask yourself how that trend works in the context of your social strategy.
‘‘In the end, you need to be able to flexibly adapt to
different trends that occur in real time.”
If you think trends are spontaneous and you don’t plan for them, you’re doomed to fail. Unfortunately, we often tend to confuse agility with lack of preparation. The recipe for success for responsive content largely depends on delivering it in a fast way. A combination of pre-planned templates mixed with real-time insights. In the end, you need to be able to flexibly adapt to different trends that occur in real time. That’s not to say you should build walls that limit the way your brand operates. Rather, you should build bridges that allow you to deploy content in a way that doesn’t require us creatives to spend half a day reacting to a trend that could be implemented within minutes.
The best recommendation I can give in relation to Ramadan would be to create thematic templates that can change from time to time with a bandwidth able to cover contents for the entire duration of the month and then be changed over in time for Eid. The increasing presence of plug-and-play templates is becoming key to how brands operate. The last World Cup was an important lesson in this area.
Making a big splash no longer means spending a bucket of money. Holiday content does not have to be in a big production. Consider how you can simplify your communications across social platforms. Add native features to your messaging, such as reminder stickers for moments like Iftar and Suhoor, movie clips about moments of consumption and other conversation tools that make you part of the moment, rather than creating a robust production that may not have the same impact in terms of distribution.
Snack-able content is called that for a reason. You are creating a communication tool that makes sense of the consumer’s journey through social media without complicating it.
Do what others won’t
During the holiday season, there are always the same general greetings spread by the brands. While it’s important to acknowledge the occasion, you should let your customers know that you understand the cultural significance it has for them. It’s important to add a special feature that will help drive recall and make your content memorable compared to others. There’s a lot to learn here from Snickers and Oreos when it comes to how they use occasional content that retains key brand elements and creates a unique brand feel.
An often forgotten ‘tried and tested’ method of implementation is to introduce a tradition. Find a communication tool that works for your brand and develop new ways to build on it year after year. This is how you build both a legacy and a value.
Measure twice, cut once
The fallacy that most marketers fall into is that they need to look at a performance report at the end of the month and reflect on how well it went. In reality, during months like Ramadan, it’s important that the measurement is as constant as the creative output itself. You need to deliver a piece of content, reflect on its performance, and then tweak it as the next piece of content comes to life. This constant drive for improvement allows brands to measure, evaluate, and ensure that well-earned media is being deployed in the right direction step by step.
Engage your audiences
Holiday content should not just be informative or awareness-raising. Engagement is an important part of the way to stand out from the crowd. While other brands are informing their audience, you should find a way to get your tribe to create with you. Reels, TikTok, and UGC-driven activations are a powerful tool to create content that captivates while amplifying your message through additional user-generated posts.
Leverage your tools
To add greater insight to your content, use tools such as social listening to track real-time holiday conversation. For more long-term planning you can use tools such as Later.com’s annual events calendar and even your local country’s calendar app in order to come up with ideas based on local events. Using your tech stack to have your ear on the group will empower you to send a message at the right time, with the right content.
In summary, agility, planning and simplicity are the timeless components of effective holiday content. Combined with the right creative and craft approach, this is the fuel brands need to sustain their communications during holidays like Ramadan. So the next time you’re thinking about that next big responsive post on social media, take a step back and remember that it’s no longer size that captures consumers’ eyes. Rather, it’s the right combination of all the little factors mentioned above.