It may be pushing 30°C outside but, with just four months to go, planning Christmas incentive prizes for the festive season is well underway for many brands. And while the thought of Christmas shopping during the August heatwave may be a distinctly unappealing prospect, it’s never too early to start thinking about festive prizes and incentives…

For many brands, Christmas is the biggest purchasing event in the calendar. From confectionery and alcohol to clothing and electricals, festive sales can make or break a brand’s bottom line for the year. For retailers too, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of Christmas sales to overall commercial performance; a weak December can have a huge knock-on impact throughout the year.

It stands to reason, therefore, that strong Christmas campaign planning is vital. From new festive product lines and above-the-line advertising to in-store activations and seasonal partnerships, brands use every available channel to maximise visibility and drive sales. But the biggest challenge is obvious: everyone else is doing the same. With an enormous amount of noise, getting your message heard can be difficult. And the more significant Christmas is for brands within your sector, the louder your competitors will be shouting.

 

Festive Prizes

Introducing a prize promotion into the festive mix can be an enormously valuable addition to your seasonal campaigns. When brands speak to their customers, the aim is to be relevant, interesting and engaging to that target audience. During the season of gifts and giving, what could be more relevant and engaging than a well-loved brand choosing to thank and reward its customers with festive gifts and treats?

A Christmas prize giveaway doesn’t need a huge budget either. Whether you’re giving away boxes of chocolates, high-tech gadget bundles or family holidays to meet Santa in Lapland, the key thing is broad appeal and relevance to your audience. There are countless options for theming your promotion – from Winter Wonderland and Father Christmas competitions, to 12 Days of Christmas and Advent Calendar giveaways – to keep things fresh and interesting.

Competitions can be linked to festive product lines or can run across a brand’s whole portfolio. They can be exclusive to one retailer or can run on packs across all channels. They can be pre-planned far in advance or activated on social media at short notice. Whatever your brand’s objectives, prize promotions offer flexibility and a point of difference, helping to drive engagement and amplify your message through key sales channels.

 

Timing

As always, the perfect time for your promotion depends on your theme, and on what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re giving away a ‘festive gift bundle’, winners will expect to receive their prizes before the big day, so your promotion needs to end in enough time to allow for pre-Christmas delivery. But if you’re giving away a ‘winter wonderland’ holiday, forcing customers to travel at short notice in the week before Christmas probably won’t deliver the best winner experience. Offering the flexibility to travel during the following year will make the prize more appealing and more accessible to a larger proportion of your target audience.

If you’re looking to create festive content from winners’ prize experiences, this will likely necessitate them travelling during December, so an early start date is particularly helpful. Talking about Santa Claus in September may be a bridge too far, but getting started a little earlier will give you enough time to maximise both engagement and reach at each stage of your Christmas campaign.

 

Staff Incentives

Of course, rewards and incentives don’t just work for customers. At a time of year where staff are working long hours – particularly in retail and hospitality – offering staff incentives to build on goodwill is a great way to motivate and reward good performance. These incentives can even be linked to consumer campaigns, in order to ensure a consistent message across all brand touchpoints. Whether it’s a Christmas outing for an entire store, a bundle of gifts for a top-performing pub/bar, or a winter weekend break for a winning salesperson, incentive programmes help to ensure your brand message is understood and communicated effectively by staff on the front line.

 

So, with four months to go until Christmas, there’s no better time to get started on the planning for those festive prizes and incentives. Add a dash of Christmas joy to your winter campaigns, and let the magic happen.

If you’re looking to create some memorable winter prizes and incentives, get in touch with Chris Pearson on +44 20 8871 9959, or on chris@element-london.com.


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