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It’s officially winter! Like every new season, brands face new challenges in staying ahead of trends and ensuring customer loyalty. Winter marketing campaigns in the US and UK are often centred around Christmas, but without the classic symbols of snow and Santa Claus to rely on, we’ve got to get extra creative in the southern hemisphere! Fortunately, marketers can create a strategy around a few inevitable aspects of winter: shorter days, colder temperatures, and wetter weather.

Below, I’ve shared some ideas for the winter season that will inspire your creativity and help you develop a successful winter marketing plan.

New Zealand in winter

Know your customer (even better)

It always comes back to knowing your customer. You understand their needs and wants, but how do those change in different environments—for example, during summer, winter, or even in certain political and economic climates?

Even when Christmas isn’t involved, our spending habits change because of the colder climate. Consumer behaviours during winter can vary but likely include increased spending on warm clothing, utility bills, and pharmaceutical products to reduce those inevitable winter colds.

From June to September, we spend more time indoors, indulging in comfort foods, and less time partaking in outdoor activities, travel and nights out. As a result, more of our hard-earned cash goes towards home-based amenities such as Netflix and Uber Eats. Some homeowners might undertake maintenance and renovation projects like insulating windows, installing heating systems, or revamping indoor spaces in preparation for cooler nights. Last winter, Kiwi spending significantly slowed, and a similar outcome is expected this year. New Zealanders want to hear about energy-efficient appliances and ways to reduce their expenses, so consider if your business can provide advice in that regard. If not, what else could you offer your customers to address a pain point relating to their seasonal experience?

Leverage your online presence

During winter, out-of-home marketing, such as billboards, posters, and guerilla marketing, is less likely to be effective. Instead, a brand’s online presence is crucial to driving sales.

Here are a few simple tips to boost your business online:

  • If you don’t already, try targeting customers using Facebook or Instagram ads (depending on your ideal demographic).
  • Re-evaluate your SEO so potential clients can find you on Google search.
  • Ensure that when prospective customers get to your website, it is easy to use and visually appealing.
  • If you sell goods, make sure your e-commerce user experience is as smooth and effortless as possible. Consider adding an email series for cart abandonment.
  • Focus on creating more quality, long-form content that people can wind down to whilst relaxing at home.
  • Encourage user-generated content – get them to share their winter experiences, photos and stories, or run some social media competitions. It’s a great time to build your community and gather content.

Embrace the winter season

It’s common to have a negative perspective about this time of year and the limitations it brings. That’s why it’s important to consider how you can create winter-themed content and experiences that align with your brand and bring positivity to the season. If you own a physical space such as a shop, come up with ways to create a cosier atmosphere inside, maximising the time people want to linger and browse. If you often organise events or meet-ups, consider hosting them virtually or devise ways to make them more inviting in winter. Use warm colours and create an ambience in your physical and online spaces to bring your customers out of the cold, even if just temporarily.

Particularly with the ongoing recession, finding ways to incentivise people to support your business is crucial, such as offering promotions, collaborating with other businesses, and rewarding loyal customers. If you can market your business uniquely and creatively, the winter won’t change a thing. After all, Kiwis are notorious for braving the cold – a little wind and rain never hurt anybody!

Some examples of brands which have embraced the season include:

Guinness: Lovely day for a Guinness (video)

The latest campaign from the Irish beer company promotes Guinness as the beer of winter in the southern hemisphere. Although Guinness is popular year-round, the brand successfully uses its beer as a winter warmer. The ad depicts a relatable winter scene in an Australian/NZ context – just another surf day at the beach with friends, albeit with plenty of warm gear, rather than a distant, snowy landscape.

McDonald’s: Winter is better together (video)

This collaboration between McDonald’s and DDB Sydney also promotes the positive aspects of winter: coming together with friends and family, braving the outdoors and getting cosy in front of the TV.

Tourism Tasmania: Become winter people (video)

Many people associate Tasmania, along with Australia and New Zealand, as purely a summer hot spot. However, Tourism Tasmania’s latest campaign markets the country as the ultimate winter holiday destination. Again, the ad is relatable and entertaining, turning an unpleasant experience (for most) into a challenge for holidaymakers to embrace and find joy in.

Brands that can market something inherently summer-themed as the opposite are often the most memorable. For example, Ben and Jerry’s created Minter Wonderland ice cream in a simple but savvy business move, transforming plain old mint choc chip into a seasonal must-have. With a little creativity and pimped-up packaging, the brand makes a popular summer treat relevant during the winter months.

Remember, people desire to feel thought of and valued by your brand, especially when the weather is a little gloomy and cold. Hopefully, this article provides some ideas on achieving maximum customer satisfaction from your winter marketing strategy.

If you would like to have a sit down with us, we can brainstorm some ideas for your brand. Get in touch with the team at MasterJack.