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Marketing Strategies for Festive Season Success 2021

With so much reliance on securing strong Christmas sales this year, the pressure has been on for brands to be well-prepared and make the most of this opportunity for recovery from the pandemic.

Shoppers have been hitting high streets and online stores earlier than ever this year, aiming to make the very most of this festive season. Being prepared has been top of the agenda for brands to meet this demand.

With this in mind, we've collected some of the key trends from 2021 that luxury retailers are using in their Christmas campaigns and that have the staying power to be a key feature of the new year as well.

A lot is at stake for this Christmas, when everyone is expecting they will be able to have Christmas with their families again and plans to make up for last season’s lockdown. The additional uncertainty of the financial market caused by COVID means that brands also want to make the most of the coming period as well. 

This Christmas, brands are looking to use the digital strategies they have learnt from the last 18 months of lockdowns, but merge them to create a new digital marketing hybrid of the fusion of virtual and physical. 

Key Trends

Here are some of the key trends for brands to hone and explore this festive period and continuing into 2022: 

Keep your influencer strategy sharp

Influencer marketing spend is predicted to hit $4 billion in 2022, so shows no signs of slowing down. 

“Influencer marketing is not new, but it has evolved to become a long-term partnership strategy, where people also go to be entertained and informed” Rachel Clay, MOF Social Lead

Throughout 2021 and beyond, brands continue to invest increasing portions of their budget into influencers and social media, with great results. While having a lot of reach obviously delivers a punch, it’s notably no longer just about follower count – mid-level and micro influencers have also shown effectiveness at increasing brand engagement. 

Look to: Dior

At this year’s fashion week Dior proved once again that they bring their A-game when it comes to using influencers. The appearance of Blackpink star Jisoo at the SS2022 show earned the highest media value of any influencer, at $57 million.

Dior Influencer Campaign

Look out for more sustainability initiatives

In recent years, the luxury consumer has become more aware of environmental and sustainability initiatives, putting pressure on brands to be open and transparent about their supply chains. It’s no longer enough to simply state company values- people want to see actionable changes from the brands they frequent.

Beginning in 2022, CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) will be carrying out a full review on greenwashing, with the fashion and textile industry at the top of the list. Authenticity is a key driver of brand engagement, and full transparency, achieved through strategic green initiative partnerships  or well-executed editorial content, is now crucial to success. 

COP26 was ground-breaking for its involvement of the fashion industry (LMVH notably joined the UN Environment Program’s fashion charter for the first time, with the commitment to work towards net zero by 2050). Brands were more transparent than ever as to their role in climate change. 

Look to: Selfridges

2021 saw many brands form partnerships with green initiatives. Retailer Selfridges had the opportunity to put its Project Earth initiative into practice, with the commitment to change the way they do business by 2025. These include: new repair services, rent services and labelling of products to endorse those that meet their strict eligibility criteria.

Selfridges Sustainability Initiatives

Substitute for Video Content

Consumers increasingly want to be served with content that is accessible, holds their attention and is suitable for on the move. Video format is the way to go, with bonus points for subtitled content. 

However, while short TikTok videos are still incredibly powerful at meeting consumers where they already are, they are not always enough when people are considering making a financial commitment to a luxury purchase. Brands have been using long-form video content on YouTube as a way to connect with virtual customers before they buy and to elevate their brands artistic design. 

Look to Gucci and Prada: Both use their YouTube channel for detailed product launches and campaign films. Prada’s Luna Rossa fragrance campaign film, starring Jake Gyllenhaal has close to 2 million views, while Gucci’s 100 film campaign celebrating their centenary has 2.6 million views.

Stay optimised for eCommerce social networks

85% of consumers say they will continue pandemic shopping behaviours this Christmas- which means online shopping is still where it’s at.  

Since social media platforms partnered with Shopify, and with Pinterest and Spotify also set to follow suit and offer in-app purchasing options, a whole generation is using social media to buy goods. Ease of purchase is crucial, with an increasingly shortening window between digital touchpoint and checkout. 

“Pinterest is changing its format to a more TikTok style – this speaks to the trend in how people want content delivered to them in an increasingly instant, accessible manner” Rachel Clay, MOF Social Lead

There has never been a more crucial time to make sure that all your content is fully optimised for mobile users and smaller screens, or to ensure you’re running your eCommerce on the most up-to-date and efficient platform. 

Look to: Farfetch

This British/Portuguese platform went public in 2018, and have just launched their own internal women’s ready to wear line. Crucially, they have still managed to maintain a luxury experience for their customers while operating exclusively online, offering a tiered access system that rewards loyal clients with concierge, styling services and early access to collections – plus unbeatable 90 minutes delivery services. 

Lady with Headphones

Further Leverage of AI technologies

The next year looks set to continue to embrace the fusion of the virtual and the physical world in new and innovative ways. Particularly exciting is the new ways to leverage AI to further personalise and streamline the user experience.

Voice technology and natural language recognition is an exciting area where advancements are currently being made and perhaps could replace things like chatbots to interact with clients in more personable and sophisticated ways. 

There are ways for luxury retailers to look to other industries in fields like tech and media for ways they can implement their insights to create a unique purchasing experience. For example, what if AI could suggest edits you might like similar to how the Spotify algorithm creates and suggests playlists? 

Look to: LMVH

LVMH’s new partnership with Google is a long term collaboration to ambitiously enhance digital innovation and personalised customer experience, that is sure to lead to many exciting new developments. There are plans to launch an AI and data Academy in Paris. 

What it means for marketing strategy...

As the retail industry traverses out of the pandemic, it has to take the lessons away from how the industry has adapted and maximise on this first opportunity to re-establish a market footing – the time is now to forge a path to a leading position and promote a powerful and memorable key message. 

As ever, the secret to success is being able to keep up and adapt to changes in the market, and knowing how to embrace this in your marketing strategy.

While Christmas literally is just around the corner and time is of the essence, it is not too late to make changes to your marketing strategy that mean you don’t miss out and are also optimised for the new year.  

We’re passionate about creating exceptional brand-led experiences that leverage our knowledge, design methodologies and the latest in what technology has to offer in terms of human interactions and business efficiencies.

Is your brand ready to seize the opportunities of the festive season and the new year? Get in touch via hello@matterofform.com to find out how Matter Of Form could help future-proof your online presence. 

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MOF Team

Published by MOF Team

We are a 60-person Experience Design Consultancy with soul. We help timeless brands design what’s next. STRATEGY + DESIGN + TECH + OPTIMISATION