5 roles of brands for Christmas 2020
It’s a safe bet to say that many French people don't know yet they will be doing for Christmas; and it's only on the weekend of December 19th and 20th that each family will get organized. In the face of uncertainty and anxiety, the idea of Christmas, with its bright decorations, truculent food, many presents, etc. seems almost indecent. Even downtown retailers prefer to dress their windows with their private labels to talk about prices rather than Christmas.
Role 1: Positive communication as soon as possible
More and more consumers expect from brands and companies actions to transform society positively: 90% of French people expect brands to demonstrate a genuine commitment to CSR (Denjean et Associés study, March 2019). They all want a more united, sustainable and respectful world. In this gloomy environment, the brands that stand out are those that respond quickly to consumer needs. Alongside the effervescence of Advent calendars that are becoming too marketing and too expensive, smart initiatives that revive and play with a certain idea of tradition are performing well. Do you know "The Elf on the Shelf"? It's the story of more than 14 million little Santa elves around the world who come to share the daily life of a family from November onwards and who fly to the North Pole every night to report to Santa Claus. Every morning, it is a pleasure to find out where this mischievous little elf is hiding and it is a nice help for parents to bring some calm to children; because a wise child will have Santa's ear. A tradition that is still little known in Europe but which is so successful, especially in Canada, that Kellog's has chosen it to create illustrate its limited edition Christmas series to strengthen its bond with families.
And you, how would you like to talk about Christmas?
Role 2: Rethink the collective aspect of Christmas
79% of the people interviewed by Balsam, a brand of artificial fir trees, plan to spend the holidays at home to avoid the contamination of their loved ones (source: emarketing.fr). This change, certainly constraining but more than necessary, brings its share of opportunities. Opportunity to rethink Christmas to go to more premises and where we will open our doors to a few neighbors or local close friends just for the joy of being together. Opportunity for the elders ones to invent their "silver" Christmas so that they are not alone but with friends. Opportunity to create the Christmas “Aperitifs”, shorter but more visual moments of digital conviviality, and above all more fun and conductive to the trend of "finger food"! Opportunity to start a social Christmas by delivering food to caregivers, the homeless, those who need support, to remind them that they are not alone. Because yes, Christmas is above all a collective and supportive moment. It is not too late to launch a partnership operation to support an association! And the Mars Wrigley company has understood this. This year, the brand is partnering with Dons Solidaires for the operation "A magical and supportive Christmas" to offer to the most fragile people a beautiful holiday season.
Role 3: Favour creative recycling
Between partial activity and repeated lock down, the year 2020 has been complicated for the wallets of all French people. Brands will have to consider it for these celebrations. Even more meaningful now that consumers are increasingly convinced that the circular economy is the bearer of a more virtuous and sustainable society; witness the growing success of second-hand digital platforms such as Vinted, Le Bon Coin and Backmarket. All the brands' initiatives relating to recycling, upcycling, waste reduction and anti-waste are and will be perceived positively by consumers. Thus, in this way, to offer sustainable toys, the startup Petite Marelle offers toy rental subscriptions for children aged up to 6 years old. The principle consists of abandoning new purchases in favour of rentals, while offering a wide choice of toys adapted to the cognitive development of children. It should not be forgotten that 40 million toys are thrown away each year in France, i.e. more than 75,000 tonnes of waste.
Role 4: Lighten the daily routine
Because we have seen the mental burden of the French people increase exponentially, because it has become difficult to take a step back, to recover, to escape or simply to let go, we dream of brands that brings relief. There are two main Christmas topics to be considered for a brand: firstly, to help consumers make more useful and responsible gifts. Food gifts were reserved for grandmothers who had everything. This year it's becoming clever and supportive to look at the boxes that know how to put local creators and producers in touch with each other. MasterBox has reacted to the lock down situation by proposing to everyone to join the collective to be the spokesperson for this beautiful initiative, even more important now that we know that Christmas markets will be cancelled.
Second point: the question of the meal and the me The entire catering industry has shown initiative and open-mindness: from palaces to chefs at home, via starred restaurants, a new accessibility to gastronomy is democratising excellent cuisine. Le Gabriel, Le Meurice, La scène, David Toutain, Le Septime and so many others need us all! All you have to do is consulting the Michelin guide site, or the Belle Assiette or Flying Chef, and of course all the restaurants near you, to combine pleasure and letting go! And you, what are you going to do for dinner on New Year's Eve?
Role 5: Surprise
Finally, loving and caring is also about surprising! At Christmas, everything is allowed to share, to laugh and smile: dare to be creative! In July, Burger King took the gamble to decorate some of its restaurants (in the USA) in Christmas colours to bring magic into the daily life of its customers, with the desire to speed up the transition to something else! Huge success in terms of image for the fast food brand
To surprise, the ideas are multiple, not to say endless. What if we imagined a tropical Christmas, to change the air and feel like travelling and getting away from it all?
Finally, to strengthen the bonds, get inspired by a tradition that smartphones have almost made disappear: sending printed Christmas cards and greeting cards. Rediscover this simple pleasure of choosing the right card, the few words to write, a drawing or a printed photo to send; and when it's useful, ecological and fun, it's even better! Fancy a card that blooms?
In brief, at the end of 2020, brands still have enough to surprise and support French consumers in their desire for positive and sustainable change! How can they do this? Innovation and brand reincarnation thanks to design can be good levers to help brands to be useful and meaningful to consumers.
Laurence Béthines, Supporting Director in charge of strategic planning