Now that you’ve put yourself in the festive mood by pinning some inspiration for yourself and your brand, let’s dive into the process of what it is you need to do to be ready on time. If you haven’t yet, you can check out the first part of the Christmas prep series here.
Depending on the type of business you run, some of the steps may or may not apply to you, but the process should mostly be the same for small creatives businesses.
One main difference to consider is whether your product or service needs the help of other suppliers or whether you’re the only one to create it. If you sell prints for example, you will need to make sure that your printer can provide what you want to create on time. It is best to check with them as early as possible, as they will probably have a crazy busy schedule too!
Step 1: Define a Christmas style for your brand.
This is what you hopefully have done in the first part of this series. Defining a Christmas style is getting the right mood & feel that you will later on translate into photography styles, fonts, graphics and colours, to make your brand visually festive. You need to be able to explain to yourself (or someone you don’t know) why you have chosen a specific Christmas style.
To make it easier, let’s take the example of well, me? White Hart Design Co. is a photo styling and design brand centred around nature. Props are rustic, you will see botanicals and flowers, nude and soft colours, and the style is laid-back, understated and airy. So when I dress up my brand for Christmas, would I be likely to go all bold colours and contemporary styles? Probably not! I choose what my brand correlates to, natural props, branches and twigs, botanicals and natural textures and colours. Anything up-cycled is best too. It makes sense, right? If it is not clear for you, please send me a line and I will do my best to help you define your own art direction!
Step 2: Create your offering(s)
This is an exciting part! If you own a physical shop, you can create a selection of products that can be gifted, or create a specific Christmas line too. Don’t panic if you think you will lack time, sometimes a simple tweak to an existing design can be enough. Maybe there is a print that you can offer personalised for example? If you get stuck in this part, next week I will suggest 10 ideas for you to create a Christmas product/offer. Remember that this is the time when your audience will want to offer a gift to their loved ones but also themselves. It will also be a time of reflection.
If you offer services, on a side note, a lot of people tend to change jobs at this time of the year, so if you’re a coach you may want to think in that direction too.
Step 3: Make a list of what assets you need to create
Once you have your offer or product in place, you need to make it visually attractive, and then you need to make it known into this world. So how do you do that? By putting your product together with your Christmas style.
That will translate into: social posts, blog posts, advertising, website headers, etc. And they should include: copy, product photography, graphic assets and fonts.
In regards to your business, you will need different collateral materials and assets. If you’re into wholesale, you probably already have put out a catalogue to your buyers? If not, it’s always a good idea to have one by hand.
If your product is digital, then social media will be your best friend. Then you will need to share your product on social media, so headers, banners, post templates and so on will need to be created. I will have you covered with that by the end of the month though, so don’t feel overwhelmed, and try to concentrate on how you want to sell your product or offering. Knowing your audience is key as well as knowing which social channel they like to hang out in.
Copy is very important, keep it short and engaging. If you’ve already written down your message, then the visual assets will come in even easier! You have some time to make a few drafts too!
Step 4: Plan the launch of your product or offering
I am one of the people who normally dislike when all shops are dressed for Christmas in the middle of October. I always react in the mode of —-> I am going to hide in the nearest forest and collect chestnuts instead, because I need to make a point that we are still in Autumn!
However, on this matter, you need to think not of yourself on a personal level, but as a business who will have different types of clients. And believe me, there are some early Christmas shoppers, in fact quite a few of them.
So I’d say the timeline to follow your Christmas offering would be:
- Mid-October to end of October: Start to dress your “shop window” (website, social headers) etc as a “little bit” festive. What I mean is this: you don’t need to go all bling bling and reindeers, pine cones and baubles all the way just yet. However if you include in your new header one detail, one seasonal hint, then your shoppers will know you’re getting ready. Maybe it will be in your copy, maybe in your photography, maybe in the colours or textures, but have a little note of it, it will make a soft, yet impactful entrance into the festive season.
- Early November: add a few more Christmassy items to your social posts, a little more each time, for a flowy and enjoyable shift into Christmas. There is nothing worse than aggressive advertising or repeated posts. So I know it is a lot more work, but remember, it is seasonal, so you get to stop and breath at some point too 🙂
- Mid-end November: That’s when all shoppers wake up, so you will reach maximum exposure then. Remember the dates of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and have your sale items and posts ready in advance.
- Beginning of December all the way to Christmas Eve: You can start an early Christmas sale if necessary, and prepare your simple Merry Christmas posts (with no sale intention this time).
- Christmas Eve and Christmas: Send all your Christmas wishes and switch off!
- Boxing Day all the way to January: send any sale posts if you wish to.
- 1st January: Happy New Year posts (no sale intention).
This is a timeline that I would recommend however feel free to adapt it to your own brand and audience.
Now it is time for you to work on all the above. I will be back next week with some ideas on offerings and products you can create on time for Christmas. The last post will be all about graphic assets and photography to help you put it all together before October.
Please feel free to comment here or drop me a line if you have any questions. And remember to have fun! The first year doing it can be quite difficult, but the ones after that will be rolling easy!