| 24 May, 2024

How to Make a Brand Deposit this Holiday Season


Believe it or not, my clients are already getting started on this year’s holiday customer communications. It may seem early, but seasoned marketers know that the second half of the year moves fast, and it’s easy to keep holiday cards on the backburner until it’s too late to do something impactful.

Start early, though, and you’ve got time to have a little fun, experiment with technologies like augmented reality or virtual reality, and create something truly engaging that reminds people who you are and what you stand for.

Why send a customer communication around the holidays

Every year when November rolls around, our industry seems to enter this collective frenzy to get everything done before Thanksgiving. The assumption is that after Thanksgiving, there’s no hope of getting a response on anything until the new year. People are out of the office, people are busy, might as well not even try to communicate with your customers unless you’re in retail… right?  

I get it. If you’re putting time and effort into an email or direct mail campaign, you don’t want it winding up in a void. But it doesn’t have to. Sure, it may not be a great time of year to reach out to potential customers with a sales objective, but it’s a fantastic time of year to make a brand deposit. (A brand deposit is any positive association people have with your brand, while a brand withdrawal is any negative association. This is the philosophy that Steve Jobs reportedly brought to Disney in the early aughts and one that I personally find helpful when thinking about branding and customer communication.)

Staying silent during the holiday season is a missed opportunity for your brand. Your competitors may choose to lie low, which could actually give you a greater opening in what is usually a noisy space.

What tone to take in holiday customer communications

What we do here at Trekk, and what we encourage our clients to do, is take advantage of the festive and reflective spirit inherent in the holiday season and send out something fun, lighthearted, and personal. Make it about who you are as a brand, the journey you’ve had over the last year, and what you’re excited about as you look ahead.

How to make a holiday brand deposit

Send some pure joy.

Some of our past holiday cards have featured augmented reality experiences or games. They’re interactive and fun for people to share with their families, especially kids. Unlike pretty much every other communication we send, there is no call to action. It’s just a gift for recipients to enjoy, something to spark childlike wonder.

Make a memory.

Other years, we’ve opted to send what we call “lumpies” — aka dimensional mailers — with the goal of creating a memorable experience. One year, we sent our clients a recipe box featuring all our favorite cookie recipes, along with photos of ourselves baking and eating the cookies. It was a way to share recipes, but also to share a more personal part of ourselves than our clients might normally see.

Get social.

One of my favorite Trekk holiday experiences allowed people to create their own holiday avatar that they could then use on social media. This one was a hit because it was fun but it was also super-shareable. It’s a good reminder that when we focus on delighting our customers, the result is often that we extend our reach.

Give back.

Last but not least, this is a great time of year to highlight a charitable organization, especially if your company can offer donation matching. My advice is to choose an organization that’s closely aligned with the mission and values of your brand. For instance, a technology company might want to amplify Girls Who Code, while a restaurant brand might consider Feeding America or World Central Kitchen.

Bottom line: It’s never too early to think about the message you want to send over the holidays, and the sooner you start, the more intentional you can be in creating a positive brand interaction. Want to discuss ideas for this year’s holiday communication? Let’s talk.

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