What Your Holiday Card Says About Your Brand

‘Ti’s the season to send tidings of comfort and joy.

Many companies engage in the practice of sending holiday greetings (print or increasingly emails) to colleagues, clients, partners and prospects.

But what does your holiday card really say about your brand?

After all, it’s not just a card – it’s a communication vehicle.

And whether you intend it to or not, chances are the greeting you send and even how you send it are communicating more about your brand than you originally intended.

One year, while I was working at Virgin management, we decided to do electronic cards (in line with our desire to do right by the planet when we can) and to re-direct the saved postage as a donation to the Branson School of Economics in South Africa.

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We included a bit of a cheeky message on the front of the card (again on brand) but overall we felt the best way to celebrate the real spirit of the holidays during what was a particularly difficult year for many, was to help others.

I am not saying this is the right solution for everyone.  I’m just illustrating that we spent some time thinking about our messaging and treated the card as a piece of branded communication – which ultimately it is.

Here are two other examples of cards that made a brand impression:

The first was from a friend of mine who runs a PR and Communications company called Fraiche.

Her brand is all about fresh ideas and approaches. Her primary color on her website and marketing materials is a bright and vibrant green – a color which supports her can-do personality and that of her company.

Her holiday card really supported her brand point of view.

It was a printed card, made on recycled paper. What was unique about it is that it was actually impregnated with flower seeds.  Like this one. The card was printed with a brief holiday message as well as instructions to plant the whole card in a flower box and water it and eventually spring flowers would arrive.

I thought this was very novel. I liked the way the card was actually doing double duty as a gift, and of course the flowers /growth supported her brand promise of sprouting new ideas.

Well done.

A less impressive example is a card I received from an architecture firm. The card was a generic holiday image (wreath, or holly or something like that) and on the inside it was printed with a generic message and an electronic signature.

This actually left a negative impression on me.

Really. Why bother?

It concerned me that a firm supposedly centered on creative, aesthetic design had so little regard for the design of this card – which was presumably going out to hundreds of clients.

And the generic greeting made things worse.

I wished they had spared the card and saved the tree.

If you are going to send a branded holiday card, it’s worth seizing this opportunity to send not just a season’s greeting… but also a well-thought message about your brand.

What good and bad examples of corporate cards have you seen? What’s your twist?

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6 thoughts on “What Your Holiday Card Says About Your Brand

  1. The holiday greeting is a customer touchpoint that is a great opportunity to underscore what you’d like to convey about your brand. For companies in the B2C space, it’s imperative to stay consistent with other messaging. For service providers, especially those with a “creative” component, it’s equally critical to use the holiday greeting as a way to re-enphasize their value proposition in a fun way.

    Here’s a simple, but very clever holiday greeting from the innovation/design firm, IDEO that creatively shows their different office locations in a series of low fidelity, rapid prototypes. They even managed to include their CEO’s recent book (“Change by Design”) as the towers for the Golden Gate Bridge image.

    ttp://www.ideo.com/holiday

  2. So true! Every year when creating our holiday message, we try our best to make it relevant and useful (beyond a greeting).

    This year, we wanted to create something that would appeal to everyone, not just our clients and close friends.

    Our solution was a heartfelt, customizable, totally ‘green’ gift that could be shared by others: The Merry Newsinator.

    So far, so good. We’re thrilled to see so many people spreading the love and having some fun with it. Already 52,000 visits in just two days! Check it out below.

    http://www.merrynewsinator.com

  3. @Josh, Patricia and John L thanks for all comments and sharing the examples. It really highlights that Holiday Cards are a great opportunity to celebrate internal brand culture as well as flex those creative muscles.

    Keep the examples coming.

    I’m already thinking about next year.

    Julie

  4. I thought you might be interested in this holiday campaign I produced for the law firm Hanson Bridgett.

    Our goal was to do something authentic that would communicate the firm’s unique personality in a memorable way. The solution was a video featuring the firm’s attorneys and staff offering a series of holiday wishes. We delivered the video via a customizable email template.

    The electronic greeting fits nicely with the firm’s commitment to sustainability, and we think it offers an excellent opportunity to enhance the firm’s reputation and mindshare among key contacts as we move into 2010. We’ve received an overwhelmingly enthusisatic response from clients and colleagues.

    View a sample of the email greeting:
    http://www.hansonbridgett.com/holiday/email.html

    -Rob (@RobCorwin on Twitter)

    • @Rob. Nice work. Looks very professional yet approachable at the same time. No doubt what you are trying to say about their brand. Thanks for sharing.