It’s that time of year! The twinkle lights are draped across storefronts. Stockings are hung by the fireplace and ornaments are purchased in bulk with “Jingle Bell Rock” playing gleefully in the background. As a society, we have Christmas DOWN! Grandmas and CEOs alike focus all their efforts on holiday cheer to end the year on a magical note.
It’s easy to get swept up in the Christmas spirit. For many of us, the reds and greens of the season fill us with comfort, memories and warmth. However, not everyone has that shared sentiment. And as marketing professionals, it’s our responsibility to create messages that resonate with every diverse audience.
Why Inclusivity Matters
To truly connect with audiences, marketers must always step outside of their own world. Understanding and embracing diverse holidays allows brands to build authentic connections with every audience. As marketers, we LOVE tracking. But the connections we’re talking about here go beyond clicks and sales, acknowledging the richness of cultures, traditions and beliefs.
Here are 5 strategies to consider for inclusive marketing:
- Research, research, research: Invest time in understanding the cultural and historical significance of each holiday before drafting a tactical brief. Determine whether a holiday is appropriate for the marketing realm, find accredited resources and ensure your messaging is respectful and authentic.
- Collaborate with communities: Engage with community leaders and influencers associated with the holidays you are celebrating. Collaborative efforts build trust and can help eliminate taboo or dated terms, décor, etc.
- Tailor your content: Craft content that speaks directly to the values and traditions associated with each holiday. NOTE: This may mean more time and effort from your creative department as templates fly off the table.
- Engage your audience: Encourage audience participation through interactive campaigns related to specific holidays that foster a sense of community. Your brand can highlight the meaningful stories from community members and spread awareness about each diverse holiday.
- Focus on philanthropy: Tie your brand’s initiatives to causes and values represented by each holiday. Donate your time and find space within your organization to volunteer. This not only amplifies your brand’s impact but allows room for growth as you learn, volunteer and celebrate together!
Culturally Significant Holidays This December
Below is a short list of holidays for your brand to consider this season. There are several holidays across the world, so while this list can serve as a starting point, it’s not comprehensive. Do your own research and promote holidays that best serve your brand’s audiences.
- World AIDS Day (December 1): Starting off the month, World AIDS Day raises awareness about HIV and AIDS and honors those who have lost their lives to an AIDS-related illness. Brand can participate in meaningful conversations and show their support for HIV advocacy.
- International Day of People With Disabilities (December 3): This day promotes the rights and well-being of people with disabilities. Brands can use this opportunity to promote their commitment to accessibility within their corporate practices.
- Bodhi Day (December 8): This Buddhist celebration commemorates Buddha’s day of enlightenment. If brands are in areas with a high Buddhist population, they can showcase products or initiatives that align with their values.
- International Human Rights Day (December 10): Dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights, this day presents an opportunity for brands to showcase their ethical business practices.
- Hannukah (December 7-15): Acknowledging and celebrating Hannukah, the Jewish festival of lights, connects with a large and culturally diverse audience. Take time to learn about the different observances, such as diet restrictions, to best honor your Jewish audience.
- Yule (December 21-Jan 1): A pagan celebration of the winter solstice, Yule represents the triumph over darkness, focusing on themes of renewal and positivity.
- Kwanzaa (December 26-Jan 1): Celebrating African-American heritage, Kwanzaa values unity, self-determination, collaborative work, economics, purpose, creativity and faith. Brands have several opportunities to learn about and celebrate this holiday.
Embracing inclusivity in marketing does more than boost your brand’s image, it fosters a sense of belonging among audiences and helps make the world a more diverse, empathetic place. Inclusivity is not a strategic move — it’s a reflection of a brand’s commitment to understanding the richness of the human experience.
From all of us at VI, have a very happy holiday season!