On the brink of another American holiday, we examine the idea of B2B brands using holidays as part of their marketing efforts.
Is it unprofessional or alienating? Is it worth doing? How far should you go in celebrating holidays as a B2B company? Do you give your employees a reasonable amount of time off for the holidays? Do you have holiday gatherings?
Holidays often have very little to do with the day-to-day functions of a B2B business. Because you cater to people at work and not people buying for their leisure time, holidays are sometimes dark zones for these companies.
We discuss the merits and challenges of recognizing and celebrating holidays in today’s post.
Holidays bring together the people that celebrate or relate to them. They encourage social bonding in groups through collective activities.
You and your loved ones will gather together for a shared meal. You’ll typically eat (or even drink) together while often enjoying displays of light and heat.
Eating, cleaning, and enjoying these displays create a connection. As a brand, tasteful nods to these traditions can make your audience enjoy those same feelings of connectedness diluted and associated lightly with your brand.
The juxtaposition to this is that while holidays encourage connection for those that celebrate them, they create feelings of otherness in those that don’t.
When deciding what kinds of holidays to celebrate, consider the breakdown of who celebrates which ones.
There are several kinds of holidays:
Some are alienating, depending on your audience. Unless you only sell to a particular religious group (which seems unlikely), it’s usually a good idea to avoid religious holidays.
You can afford to celebrate a local holiday if you have a local audience/customer base. For example, a Boston-based brand might celebrate Patriots Day. It’s a local holiday that many other states/cities don’t celebrate, but its an actual holiday for Boston. It will allow locals to connect with your brand and will make your brand stand out amongst your non-local audience.
After looking at the data you’ve collected on your leads and your audience, you should be able to determine if it’s worth sending out a local holiday post on social, or whether you should segment that part out of your audience to send a related blog post over.
You’ll have to ask yourself what holidays make the most sense for you to acknowledge. Maybe those are silly internet-driven holidays, or you reference only critical public holidays.
Because holidays are based off traditions that have brought humans together for thousands of years, it makes sense that acknowledging holidays makes it that much easier to connect with customers and potential buyers at a deeper level. You can use holidays as an excuse to add humanity to your content, even as a B2B brand. Maybe this comes in the form of hiring a professional photographer (or photobooth) for a company event, then using some of those pictures in your related content.
Human faces in content draw more clicks than content that doesn’t have any human faces in it. Holiday content can and should have the real face of those who work in your company. It inspires that same feeling of connectedness and authenticity that the holidays often inspire.
Using holidays as part of your marketing strategy increases the diversity of your content. Instead of just posting about the same handful of topics, you get the opportunity to create something entertaining but useful that relates to the upcoming holiday.
As mentioned above, sometimes, that means adding human faces where usually content is just blog posts and statistics.
Holidays are a great time to pay attention to the trending tags in the days leading up to a holiday. You can boost your brand’s reach by sending out a tweet with a #maythefourthbewithyou or a #happy4thofjuly tagged tweet with some complimentary content.
The holidays your company chooses to celebrate reflect on your company culture. Now that company culture and marketing are so intertwined; you should consider looking at the holidays you celebrate.
For example, HIPB2B doesn’t celebrate Columbus Day because Christopher Columbus kidnapped and murdered thousands of indigenous people. That doesn’t mean you have to lose a day off. If you’d like to observe the national holiday still, many have taken to celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the same day.
Think about how you want your company to come off. Do you give extended time off to your employees near the winter holidays?
Are you meeting the needs of all your employees? Choose which holidays to celebrate and brainstorm how these choices impact your company culture. These choices will affect your brand’s culture and reputation.
When you sit down to figure out how to treat holidays in your company, figure out what matters to both your employees and your customers. Find out the mutual connections between these two groups, and celebrate a blend of holidays that works to connect both. Only then will you find a natural fit for the holidays your B2B brand celebrates.
Let us know what you think?
- What holidays does your brand celebrate?
- Are there any holidays you directly avoid acknowledging?
- How should holidays and marketing intertwine?