Holidays is the time of the year when we get an opportunity to show our love for our families, express our gratitude to our employees, and show our appreciation to our business partners. Most of the time we do so through gift-giving.
And who doesn’t love gifts, right?
Well, it turns out that when it comes to corporate gift-giving, not a lot of people are looking forward to getting surprises in the mail. This year especially I’ve seen a lot of frustrated tweets and Facebook posts flying around… from “Oh no! More holiday gifts that I don’t need” to “It’s that time of the season… time to haul out all the junk I got from other companies.”
It made me reflect on some of the best and worst gifts I have received in the past from the vendors and partners I have worked with throughout the years. And what I realized was that there were very few gifts or gestures that truly stuck with me. Most were not very well thought through, like the numerous bottles of wines I got… not a great gift for someone who doesn’t drink alcohol. Not that I wasn’t grateful for the gesture and the investment… it’s just that…
What hit me was the realization that the best gifts I have ever received were not gifts per se, but rather experiences these gifts have enabled!
Gifts or gestures that allow you to create memories that are special to you – that is ultimately the best thing you can ever get someone. And a lot of times it only requires a little bit of effort, a little thought put into it. There is really no better way to say “we appreciate you.”
Winter holiday spending is crucial for retailers, bringing in more than $600 billion in sales revenue in the 2013 season. In order to meet these numbers, retailers pull out all the stops when it comes to holiday marketing. Each brand pools their resources to create the most innovative, creative, and eye-catching campaigns designed to grab their share of the gift-giving market.
Here’s a look at five holiday campaigns that topped the “nice” list for us this year due to their creativity, as well as their imaginative integration of digital and social.
Kate Spade Gets Creative with Video
The fashion retailer appeals to its target audience of stylish and quirky women with a candid video starring actress Anna Kendrick locked out of her New York apartment. The two and a half minute video entitled “The Waiting Game” appears in both pre-roll and shoppable formats, as well as in 5-second clips to accommodate the short attention span of mobile viewers.
This has been the company’s highest performing piece of content over the past 30 days, garnering over 150K views on YouTube. Using Sprinklr’s Social Business Index, our team looked at the impact of this (and other) inspired holiday content on brand’s engagement and found that cumulatively it has helped increase the number of people participating in the discussion around the brand by 30% over the past month.
Best Buy Continues to Experiment with Vine
Following up on last year’s #vineinline Black Friday campaign, the electronics giant is at it again on social, encouraging customers to post how they “hint” for presents with the hashtag #hintingseason. In addition, the retailer is running a “Holiday Hacks” campaign on Vine to advertise new and innovative ways to use their products.
By experimenting with emerging networks such as Vine and reposting user-generated content, Best Buy is able to connect with their target millennial audiences and improved their earned impressions by 111% over the month, according to our Social Business Index data.
Bloomingdales Makes Instagram Shoppable
The department store is working to solve one of retailers’ biggest qualms about Instagram by making their posts “linkable” and “shoppable” within the app. The #zoomingdales campaign features one jam packed post that is “zoomable” by clicking on the different tags and individual profiles within, all while linking back to the website. Through this innovative campaign, Bloomingdales showcases it’s breadth of products and provides creative party use cases for their clothing including “Potluck House Party” and “Dressy Holi-Date”.
According to Sprinklr’s Social Business Index data, the campaign is delighting fans, boosting positive market sentiment by 150% for the month and discussion strength by 32%.
StubHub Gets Crazy With Hashtag Giveaways
Ticket e-commerce marketplace StubHub (disclosure: StubHub is a Sprinklr client) is encouraging friends and family to stop with the bad gifts and give people what they really want – amazing experiences at concerts, sports games, and theater shows. By sharing their ideal ticket gift and using the hashtag #tixwish, participants are entered to win a variety of gift cards and prizes, all leading up to a grand prize giveaway of $10,000 on New Year’s Eve.
According to StubHub, the hashtag has inspired a range of creative posts from eager fans, gathering over 500K mentions on Twitter so far and providing 1.3 billion impressions for the brand.
J.Crew Revamps the Website Gift Guide
The fashion retailer took the traditional website gift guide up a notch this year with individual pages for men, women, boys, girls, and babies, each including a rainbow of products and dynamic pre-roll videos. To advertise their holiday customer service offerings such as personal stylists and same-day delivery, the retailer created four video clips on their YouTube channel starring an adorable Claymation elephant. As if this weren’t enough, J.Crew created an addition three “Links We Love” web pages that feature click through links to their favorite holiday activities and retailers including New York Ballet and Hammonds Candies.
The messaging of “gift better” is resonating with fans, producing a 100% increase in earned impression for the retailer over the month, according to Sprinklr’s Social Business Index.
What do you do when your company grows at a rapid pace and it becomes harder to induct your employees into the fabric of your company that is your culture?
Well, you might consider assassinating them, for one.
No, not “for real life”, as my 5-year old daughter would say, but “for pretend.”
That’s what we at Sprinklr did. For a company that grew 300% YOY for the past three years, we realized the challenge of maintaining the culture that got us to where we are today. We truly believe that having camaraderie between all Sprinklrites establishes a healthy and productive work environment. And since our motto is “don’t just do social, be social,” it stands reason that the creative ways we come up with to get to know each other are also… well … social.
Enter Sprinklr Assassin game, a creative way to mix it up and foster new relationships throughout the company. The game was created by our New York office employees and gave everyone the opportunity to meet new people while having a blast and tapping into their competitive side.
The premise of Sprinklr Assassins is this: everyone gets assigned another Sprinklrite as a target and you have to “murder” them before they get you. If you have been murdered, you pass your target onto the person that got to you and the process keeps going until there is one last person standing.
Roger Staubach once said: “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”
It continues to amaze me that the sentiment still rings true in the consumer-empowered age.
Why is it that almost every time we hang up the phone with a customer service rep, we feel flat? Despite the profiling technologies, the predictive analytics technologies, the customer databases that companies have at their fingertips, it is still insanely hard for them to provide a breathtaking experience. Why?
I think it is because a lot of times companies are missing a key ingredient to business success – human passion.
Sadly, it not only isn’t built into companies’ culture and business mentality, it isn’t built into companies’ incentives and business objectives.
The only way your company will build lasting relationships with your customers is if you provide amazing experiences at every touchpoint with that customer. And the only way to ensure that is to employ people who are passionate about what they do and about serving their customers. Only passion will prompt them to go extra mile when the customer needs it most.
In this column I have already discussed the importance of employees as brand ambassadors and why a company is only as extraordinary as its people. I talked about the fact that for most customers it is about little things, about a human touch. It also only takes a small act of caring to turn a negative opinion around and create a brand advocate for life. And advocates are the ones that bring additional business revenue through word-of-mouth. The Retail Consumer Report, for example, states that 85% of consumers are willing to pay 5-25% over the standard price for the products from companies that deliver superior customer experience.
How do companies provide superior experiences? They give people an opportunity to engage with them. Sometimes it’s just as simple as asking a single question. One simple question can do amazing things for brand affinity.
Omni-channel. Real-time marketing. Retargeting. The list goes on.
Each one of us wants to show off how cool, cutting-edge, and tuned-in with modern times our brand is. We listen on the web. We entertain on social. We crank out a ton of content every day, hoping for virality. We measure the amount of conversations, likes, and shares. If we are really good, we analyze purchase intent and actual purchase data and correlate it back to all of our busy social efforts.
And all the while we are missing the most important measure of all – relationship capital.
Here is the thing. Consumers do like to talk about brands. They do like to be entertained every now and then. But when push comes to shove, what consumers truly want the most from brands is to know that they, consumers, matter. And the only way to do that is through consistently delivering amazing experiences. If brands are not able to deliver those, they have zero chance to retain their customers (and we all know how much more expensive it is to attract a new customer vs. retaining the current one). Therein lies the rub: retaining our customers is not possible without building long-term relationships with them. And building strong relationships requires knowing and understanding your customers like never before.
Relationship capital should be the most critical measure of business success.
A passionate marketer, I write and speak on topics of leadership, business culture, and marketing innovation. After spending over 10 years as an integrated marketer and social media leader at Intel and Accenture, I was a co-founder and CMO of BRANDERATI (acquired by Sprinklr in 2014). I am an author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller "Think Like Zuck" and "The Power of Visual Storytelling." I am an avid evangelist of holistic consumer experience management. Chocolate, fashion, and a good book are my vices.