Unfortunately with the pandemic still affecting people globally, but especially in the U.S., the holiday season is going to look very different this year. It’s essential that brand marketers take this into account when planning for the upcoming holidays and adapt their strategies accordingly.
Mavrck’s August survey of 580+ creators in the U.S. indicated that 54 percent start planning for the holidays in August and September1. This means that marketers need to start getting their holiday campaign plans in order now.
The below guide will walk through additional survey data and recommendations when it comes to holiday planning.
Influencer Calendars Are Filling Up
There are many aspects to consider for holiday planning, including limited influencer availability during the holiday period. Yes, it’s true that most creators have an increased number of brand partnerships during the holiday season, however, there are certain factors that limit a brand’s options. For example, brands may need influencers to post during a specific timeframe but as creators fill their content calendars, they might not be able to commit to a particular collaboration even if they wanted to.
Based on our August survey insights, 19 percent of respondents have already locked down 2020 holiday collaborations1. Though this of course means that 81 percent have not solidified their holiday plans quite yet, they’re sure to do so quickly – the most popular planning months collected via the survey were first September (31 percent), followed by October (29 percent), then August (23 percent)1.
These findings prove that it’s important for brands to finalize their holiday strategy as soon as possible so they can secure partnerships with favorite creators before it’s too late. To avoid potentially missing out on the opportunity to work with your primary choices, we recommend the long-term tactic of developing an ambassador program, which will allow you to activate a group of your top-performing influencers on a consistent basis (including over the holidays!), and lock those partnerships in for the full year.
Influencer’s Strategy is Changing Inside and Outside of Brand Collaborations
Now more than ever it’s important for brand marketers to adapt their holiday messaging to address the realities of living in a pandemic. According to our survey, 61 percent of respondents will be changing their holiday content strategy due to the current state of the world1. This means that it’s vital to take influencers’ feedback into account and consider working more closely with creators to do so.
One way for brands to do this is by leveraging influencers as creative consultants, who are able to ideate unique campaign concepts that will resonate best with their audience during this new type of holiday season. Another tactic is to survey a group of influencers before your campaign launches to validate holiday campaign concepts your brand has been evaluating. Learn more about our research best practices for surveys here.
On a personal level, 68 percent of survey respondents indicated that they will be changing their holiday plans due to COVID-191. Not only does this include eliminating travel to family and friends during the holidays, but some will be having smaller gatherings with only immediate family, and many will be participating in more online shopping. Brands need to take this all into consideration when planning their collaborations so they can hone in on these changes in particular.
For example, CPG brands could focus their campaign around how to easily update typical meals to accommodate smaller serving sizes. In addition, all types of brands could focus on connecting with family and friends virtually and incorporate their products or services into virtual events and gatherings. Finally, given that online shopping will be much more popular this year compared to others, brands with e-commerce sites can capitalize on this and make sure to shift any in-store efforts to online initiatives.
When it comes to creators’ holiday collaboration rates and whether or not they would be impacted by COVID-19, 58 percent of respondents said they will not be impacted1. With the other 42 percent saying that their rates will be impacted and change due to COVID-19, it’s crucial for brand marketers to keep this in mind when striving to offer influencers fair compensation during this unprecedented time. It’s important to note many creators increase their rates to account for the high demand from brands during the holiday season.
One thing is clear during this time: There are still so many unknowns about the upcoming holiday season. Unknowns that everyone – including brands and influencers alike – need to figure out how to navigate. To help brand marketers create the best holiday strategy, we’ve developed this 2020 holiday planning guide that outlines the key considerations to keep in mind, important holiday content windows and timelines, plus the ultimate holiday planning checklist to help you stay on track.
Footnote: 1) Mavrck Creators & Influencers Research Survey – August; July 29 – August 7, 2020; 584 Responses