Let’s all head into the Memorial Day weekend on an uptick: Taking note of the brands of holidays and why they are so powerful for most of us. We like – even in some cases, love – holidays for a lot of reasons, including the time off from work, time with family, celebrate the occasion, etc.A holiday IS the best brand.
But I’ve always felt there are at least two other factors at work that all brand strategists can learn from. One is that each of the major holidays mark a milestone in our lives, whether it’s seeing our extended families for the first time in some time at Christmas or Memorial Day starting Summer ’09.
Very few brands, when you think of it, take that “milestone” approach, yet it’s actually one of the most powerful. As humans, we crave marking the important times of our lives and, yet when most brands try to do that – such as brands for weddings, for example – it’s in the most benign way possible. It’s predictable, which means it loses much of the meaning we originally sought in it.
We talk a lot here about being different and better. Both are equally important, but it’s always so surprising how little different everything is. Going back to the wedding “brand,” don’t you see the marketing for wedding dresses or tuxedos or locations or even honeymoons all feeling the same as the rest? Especially in terms of tone and emotional triggers?
Not true with holidays. Each is distinctive, and brands would be well advised to take notice. They are different and better, and you should know that “different” is how true awareness happens and is the first step to “better.”
What we mean by “better” is that you are more meaningful to audiences than your competitors. You align yourself with precepts, the belief systems that drive behavior. (For example, to want “someone to watch your back,” you’d have to believe “the world is a dangerous place.”) You see yourself in the brand because the brand believes the same things you do.
Now, to accomplish that best, you must have clarity, and that brings us back to holidays. Few things in our lives are more clear than holidays from a brand perspective. They are razor-sharp clear.
Think about what each holiday represents emotionally (instead of what they truly represent). Thanksgiving, family and food. Christmas, magic (whether Christian or not). Halloween, dark mystery. And Memorial Day, happy sunshine.
Holidays even have brand equity markers: The Christmas Tree, the hot dog (for both Memorial Day and 4th of July, two very related holidays), pumpkins, turkey, and on and on.
If your brand can be that clear and that emotional and that different from everything else, you have a winner to last as long as today’s holidays we covet being a part of.