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Planning for a Christmas like no other

The global marketing guide from Facebook IQ highlights trends and insights around new habits for 2020

Following a turbulent 2020, Christmas this year is going to feel a little different to what we have previously known. The pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives, and the new habits we have formed will shape our behaviour over the festive season. So as marketers, how do you begin planning your activities for the upcoming season, and how can you help your customers and communities?

A global marketing guide from Facebook IQ highlights trends and insights around new habits formed at this time, and which are likely to shape trends for the 2020 season and beyond. The five key insights include:

  1. Gen X and Boomers dominate mobile and ecommerce growth
  2. Self-gifting and seasonal shopping can be positive outlets in difficult times
  3. Imposed disruption fuels receptiveness to news products and services
  4. The economic downturn will expedite the rise of mega sales
  5. The new value equation is: affordability, authenticity and action.

In this article we will focus on the “new value equation” trend.

Affordability, authenticity and action: the new value equation

Across the world, businesses and brands have been responding to the crisis by using their resources and influence to help us all. It is something that will remain in the consumers' minds as they shop this Christmas. Of course, price will always be an important factor in any purchase and, with many affected financially by the pandemic, discounts and deals will remain top of mind. Increasingly, consumers also want to feel good about the brands they buy from; and want to feel proud to support those businesses.

This desire to see brands acting for good has been cemented during the pandemic. GlobalWebIndex's Coronavirus Research April 2020 found that an average of 68% of people surveyed globally agreed that brands should stop normal factory production and pivot to making the essentials.

These actions really matter to consumers, according to PR agency Edelmen in its Trust Barometer research published in March. It found that, on average, 65% of respondents said a brand's response to the pandemic would have a significant impact on their likelihood to buy from that brand in future. Christmas campaigns should seek to remind consumers about a brand’s Covid response as 32% of global consumers want to see informative social media content from brands over the festive season (Facebook Seasonal Holidays Study, YouGov, December 2019).

Consumer reaction has been positive so far, says GWI's research. It found that, of the people surveyed, 76% approved of how large corporations had handled the outbreak and 72% approved of how local shops and business had behaved. These stats are replicated across most countries. Even before the pandemic, consumers were already demanding more from brands: more transparency and social good. An eMarketer study from last October found that even loyal consumers would switch to a different product or service if a company had violated their values.

What people globally have endured together during the pandemic has highlighted the global appetite to be better and do better and hardened consumer resolve to do the right thing.

Recommended actions for brands:

Share your values and take action

  • Focus on brand building using Facebook and Instagram.
  • Showcase the work your brand has done to support the community through the pandemic clearly and simply.
  • Create authentic communication to help people understand your values and how you have responded in these difficult times.
  • Consider incorporating a way to your shoppers to support a case with Facebook and Instagram’s fundraising and donation features.

Show support with brand partnerships

  • Brands and retailers should explore working together on performance marketing campaigns via Facebook Collaborative Ads.
  • Retailers can use dynamic ads to create a segment of their catalogue dedicated to showcasing a brand's product range.
  • Brands can use the catalogue segment to run dynamic ads to highlight products to people who have shown interest in the retailer's site, app or elsewhere on the internet.

Creative thought starters

Local business partnerships

  • New partnerships could be beneficial for businesses and brands of all sizes this festive season, particularly after long periods of closure and the loss of footfall.

Creative inspiration

  • Brands should explore partnering with retailers to drive sales across all their channels.
  • Partnerships with service brands can provide added-value content for brands to offer customers after they make a purchase.
  • Brands should use geo-targeted ads to drive local relevance and support.

Christmas compassion

  • How brands give back to communities and people will be a huge influence on shoppers this year.

Creative inspiration

  • Use Facebook Feed and Stories to highlight transparency and social good. Think of Lego’s #letsbuildtogether campaign, which saw Lego Group and The Lego Foundation join forces to donate $50 million to Education Cannot Wait, which provides education for children in crises. It also sought to inspire all children with fun ways to play at learn at home through Let’s Build Together on its website and social media. Meanwhile, the Bodycoach, aka Joe Wicks, donated all the ad revenue from his YouTube channel, which received thousands of hits for his daily live workouts, and sales of his PE with Joe t-shirts to NHS Charities Together.

When planning for the coming festive season adapting your brand's tone and content to suit the fast-changing times we are all living in now is vital.

Always consider the context when it comes to content. While in previous years, festivities centred around social gatherings and bustling shopping streets, this year it will have a different meaning.

Brands should consider new and creative ways to embody the festive spirit and, even, breaking traditions by exploring new territories. Facebook’s Creative Hub has a range of tools to help creatives to experiement with different mobile content formats that make the most of the new festive moments created by these less conventional times.

With all that we have been through this year, do not be afraid to celebrate but do be sensitive. Christmas is a time to uplift and inspire, but it will mean different things to everyone this year.

To read the full report and all the trends and insights identified in The 2020 Facebook Christmas Package click here.

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