Love it or hate it, Valentine's Day is an important one for marketers. Here's how you can put your brand's special touch on it. Image by www.foodandwine.com.
Valentine's Day is a time-honored tradition- and a must for competitive marketers. This is especially true in the event space, where the commercial holiday draws people out and about for fun and romance. For many, Valentine's Day markets and celebrations are a bright spot in an otherwise dreary month. Although the colorful, hearts-and-flowers theme of the holiday is seen as overdone by some, others revel in it. If V-Day feels trite and commercial to you, or your audience is more eclectic than traditional, we feel you. Here are some of our best, research-based marketing tips. Today we'll share both the tried and true and the unique.
1. Promote Self-Love
Today's market is all about self-love, and Valentine's Day is no exception. Image by www.forbes.com.
It's a fact: Self-love sells. Today's market is all about loving ourselves the way we are and cultivating independence. This may not gel with the traditionally warm and fuzzy vibe of Valentine's Day, but consider this: The holiday market includes singles, so leaving them feeling left out limits your potential reach. To celebrate everyone this year, consider hosting a fun costume party or encourage attendees to dress for themselves- in their very best.
Hosting a beauty product swap at discounted prices allows partygoers to give themselves- and each other- the gift of self-care. A spa day is also a welcome reprieve from the daily grind, but if you're working on a lower budget, a beauty product swap is a festive and fun way to indulge in self-love. Providing a live beauty tutorial or makeup artist could put the icing on the cake.
The vegan, sustainable fashion brand Niluu recently launched a sultry campaign featuring a woman getting dressed for a date- with herself. Another memorable campaign was Pandora's cozy video ad in which real couples narrate what Valentine's Day means to them and their relationship. Authenticity is trending all year around, and this holiday is no exception. Today's market still loves a little glitz, glamour, and escapism- but what they really want is to relate personally to the brands they patronize.
Video ads featuring real people and families at home have skyrocketed to popularity since COVID first kept us all at home- but the trend shows no sign of slowing down. Maybe that's because the lockdown was a humbling experience that connected people from all over the world from their homes. Whatever the reason, we're here for embracing the humanness of life- even on Valentine's Day.
2. Celebrate Galentine's Day
A holiday within a holiday, "Galentine's Day" celebrates love in the form of friendship and sisterhood. Image by edit.sundayriley.com.
This idea also works for Galentine's Day, which has become almost as popular as the traditional holiday it is spun from. A gift swap is another way to love ourselves and each other on a budget. Go old-school and write everyone's name on glittery, Cupid-shaped cards. Everyone picks a name out of a hat, and purchases a gift within a set budget. On the day of your event, people can be pleasantly surprised by what their Secret Cupid gifted them with. This idea works especially well for company parties.
Since most ads and event promos are digital, you may want to hold a contest on social media. Recently, Ahmed Tea spiced up Valentine's Day by asking participants to tell them what's special about the way they're celebrating. The winner gets a trio of complementary teas to presumably share with the gals.
You can also give the gift of self-love in a similar vein: Hold a contest in which the winner receives a beauty or relaxation product, a day of self-care at a spa, or any other item or experience that your particular audience might feel pampered by. The more meaningful the content, the better in an experiential market. Ahmed Tea asked participants to share what's special and unique about the way they are celebrating Valentine's Day. Why not ask your audience to tell you what they love about themselves or the loved ones in their life? You might also ask them to describe their love language in their own words.
3. Speak in Love Languages
An experiential market is all about personalization. Fortunately, so are the five love languages, so celebrate them this V-Day.. Image by www.bobbyberk.com
Love is certainly it's very own language, and the concept of love languages has become wildly popular since the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts came out. The whole concept is based on the idea that different people express love in different ways. For example, one of the five languages is "words of affirmation", which describes people who naturally express love with spoken or written words. In theory, this is also of their favorite ways to receive love.
For Valentine's Day, try challenging people to give creative gifts based on individual love languages. Guests can receive the name of a guest and their love language via email prior to the event. Then when the event comes, they give a gift based on the recipient's individual "language". Gifts don't have to be store-bought; they can also be handmade or original. Of course, it will be easiest to buy or create for those whose love language is "gift-giving".
4. Write Love Letters
Never thought of company emails as love notes? Think again this Valentine's Day. Image by www.nytimes.com.
Speaking of "words of affirmation", love letters are one of the most classical ways to show affection. While you may nor readily equate this time-honored tradition to business emails, adding a Valentine's Day theme to engaging emails. The next time you send out an email update about upcoming events, sales, or products, make it a "love note". In your own heartfelt words, let your customers know just how much you appreciate them.
You can use segmentation to personalize your list and send content based on their interests. Based on data, buyer behaviors, and browsing history, use demographic and psychographic information to target your audience with emails. In today's experiential market, personalized emails go beyond a name. The criteria you utilize to segment emails depends on two things: the industry you are in and the goals you have set for your campaign.
Remember to go beyond demographic information and target emails based on psychographic information, too. Psychographics refers to the study and classification of people based on their attitudes, aspirations, personalities, values, and other psychological criteria. This technique has revolutionized personalization in marketing by allowing companies to cater to customers and forge more meaningful connections with them.
5. 'Tis the Season for Sales
It's a fact: Nothing sweetens a commercial holiday like sales. Image by www.nypost.com.
Launching a new product or limited product line is another great way to cash in on Valentine's Day. Obviously, limited edition items or services hold more value because they won't be available for long. This increases demand. We see this strategy around this time of year when just about every candy brand creates limited edition Valentine's Day versions of the original. For example, the little candy hearts emblazoned with cheeky sentiments have been a holiday staple for decades. Hershey's Marshmallow Hearts are always a hit in February. The candy might not be anything new, but festive heart shapes and limited edition colors bring novelty and cheer to food.
5. Wine and Dine Your Guests
Romantic dinners never go out of style- especially on Valentine's Day. Image by www.parade.com.
While we are embracing authenticity as a society, we also want to treat ourselves from time to time. Events that glitter like gold and put a little romance in the air are an indulgence we all deserve after the last several years. Events that immerse guests in a world of glitz and glamour don't have to break your bank. Decorative, fragrant flower arrangements, high tea, heart-shaped portrait booths, and festive games are all fun ways to celebrate love. Romantic film screenings are irresistible to couples looking for a little romance; rom-coms showings are perfect for Galentine's Day. Whether you're going for a low-lit, intimate vibe or festive family fun, employing a little creativity goes a long way. And don't forget- if you're going the romantic route rather than focusing on family fun, you may want to offer on-site childcare.
Again, you can also wine and dine your single guests. Holding a mixer in which singles can meet is one way to cater to those still looking for romance. In fact, mixers can spice up Valentine's Day for couples and singles. A gala or dance set in another era, such as the 1920s or 1950s, adds an element of escapism and self-expression to a commercial celebration.
6. Remember, Valentine's Day is for Everyone
Inclusivity culture is doesn't take a holiday, so be sure to celebrate everyone. Image by www.breezejmu.org.
Although Valentine's Day traditionally catered to opposite-sex partners and conventional families, the world has changed. A inclusive culture is an integral part of every holiday, especially one that celebrates love. Gear promos and ads toward same sex couples and a variety of gender identities, and your reach will be greater. Not only that, but you'll be presenting your brand as inclusive and celebratory of love in all its forms. What could be more romantic than that?
All of that said, it can be easy to unintentionally overlook individuals and couples who do not fall into traditional categories on Valentine's Day. For example, classical film screenings feature only heterosexual couples- which is okay if you're simply trying to set a dreamy mood with historical romances. However, if your audience is comprised largely of millennials and members of Gen Z, you might want to include some contemporary LGBTQ features.
Mixers, themed brunches or dinners, arts and crafts events, and cooking classes in which guests prepare romantic meals are all inclusive options. Craft workshops in which attendees can make gifts for their partners and/or loved ones are especially heartfelt and fun.
7. Send a Message- on Social Media
Ah, yes. What could be romantic and intimate than posting a message for the entire world to see on Valentine's Day? Twitter did it in 2020 with a twist of humor and quirky, memorable results. Essentially, this campaign took Tweets about Valentine's Day from people all over the world, and posted them on billboards. Just a few heartwarming examples: "Gonna date myself in 2020" and "Getting arrested this Valentine's Day so I can say I was cuffed". Tweets ranged from truly thoughtful and sentimental takes on love and humorous, sarcastic ones like those above.
Why not put your own spin on this trend by asking your followers to share their own V-Day thoughts on Twitter or Instagram? Then you can post and tag the senders on your page, which potentially boosts their following. A campaign like this also adds a healthy dose of realism to Valentine's Day, which connects people. Because let's face it, this is not always a happy holiday- but both sweet and not-so-sweet nothings are relatable when shared on social media.
8. Celebrate Virtual Valentine's Day
It's a hybrid world. The saying "There's no place like home for the holidays" has taken on a new, literal meaning. Many people still want the option of remote participation at events, and by offering it, you stand to reach a broader audience. These events can also mean a lot to couples who are living far away and don't get to see each other in person for Valentine's Day.
Private tours of museums, film viewings, and hybrid music and theater shows are all engaging ways to enjoy the fun from home. The Moth is a renowned event series and podcast that features live 5-minute stories of real experiences told by real people. Participants and viewers laugh, cry, and think about life and the world in new ways. You can put your own spin on this innovative series by creating your own live videos in which couples tell their love stories and individuals talk about what love means to them. What better way to connect people on a holiday that celebrates relationships?
There are many ways to celebrate love on Valentine's Day when you use your creativity. Our best advice to you: Align your campaign with your brand's culture and your business goals. We mean this from the bottom of our hearts.