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What do the holidays mean to you? To children, the holidays may mean writing letters to the North Pole. To adults the holidays mean cringing over secret santa drawings, because finding a good gift can be oh so difficult. Either way, a message is sent from a child to Santa and from you to your family, friends, and co-workers a message to spread the need to celebrate whatever important religious (or not) holiday. Either way, with whatever tradition, we give and we rejoice! With a duty that strong, hopefully businesses corporate or small choose to partake in the opportunities of the season. To me, the holiday season is not only joyous and merry but it’s also a season of new opportunities. Maybe it’s the holiday spirit or the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come that enriches boys and girls, young and old, rich or poor, corporate or ma and pa, but during this time of year peoples’ mutual desire to communicate and connect is expected. With that said, here are five tips from Alex Trebek that Arthur Chu can’t wait to buzz on: How to turn yesterday’s communication shopping-list into the Polar Express’s ship, deliver, wrap and send list.
1. The best way to send a random introduction without feeling awkward. Answer: What are holiday greeting cards?
That’s right. Holiday greeting cards are probably one of the best, most harmless ways to build your network for any new clients, new jobs, or new partnerships in mind. Besides breaking the ice, a unique message and format can represent the success, the fun, the creative, the digital strength, and artistic capabilities of a company. On a more intimate basis, the season of building your network can allow you to reconnect with a disconnected family member, an old friend, or a former co-worker. No matter who you are- it truly is a magical time of year to say what you’ve always been meaning to say. *Bonus points if you write a cursive, yet legible, hand-written letter. Why? Cursive is the Latin of penmanship. Barely anyone writes in cursive and it can hardly survive middle school. Although tedious, in every hand-written letter or card I’ve given, I get the most poignant reactions from the receiver. Without a doubt, hand-written cards carry more weight.
2. The spot where if you hit ’em, it hurts. Answer: What are meaningful charity campaigns?
When everyone is giving gifts and giving cards, now is prime time to show your corporate social responsibility by giving back for the holidays. There are several ways of promoting charity campaigns while also sharing your message so that the public can contribute. For example, by creating a holiday greeting video open to the public, every view is a 5 cent donation and every share is a 10 cent donation of whatever charity of choice. Maybe a month after the holidays, follow up on the charity and show the viewers exactly how their curiosity, sharing, and contributing helped. If you are feeling extra ambitious, you can multi-task with a message, a video, a partnership, new technology, an engagement tool, a charitable component, and a party in one.
Here’s how that’s done: In 2011, Saatchi & Saatchi LA created 1) a message shared via 2)video. The video showed the company playing a festive game of eggnog pong (Nog Pong) with a help from a 3) partner, Deeplocal, who developed a 4) new technology, a robotic pong throwing arm. The public can 5) engage with Saatchi & Saatchi LA by logging on to Facebook to talk to the party go-ers, while shooting the robotic launcher and playing nogpong physically from the comfort of their computer chair. All of this while 6) donating to 3 possible charities for every cup they make and 7) joining in on the party by making other people drink. It was a win-win-win-win-win-win-win with a holiday twist and created huge buzz for the agency.
3. A two-word phrase so simple yet can go a long way. Answer: What is “thank you”?
Mama always said, “Don’t forget your pleases and thank yous.” Around this time of year, with the craziness that comes with end-of-year finances and budget allocations, holiday party planning and hosting, cooking and cleaning, gift shopping and wrapping, thank yous can potentially fall by the wayside – but are even more crucial than ever! Even if it takes one extra line to print on an invite or a separate thank you card for attending a party, it is a great way to show your appreciation to your co-workers and customers.
For example, from this year’s FLIRT Holiday Party evite, we invited our guests, we showed our appreciation (and thank you) for their “friendship and support”, and we gave a shenanigans forecast for the evening. Much like a greeting card, thank you cards also open the door to new opportunities- especially if you are a guest.
4. Results in company rebranding or culture change. Answer: What is holiday innovation?
If you are a planning a holiday party, maybe you can try something different- a new theme, activity, technology etc. It can be a great opportunity to trial a new tradition or build company engagement so that everyone can have fun. Even if it’s just your family, you can always start new traditions like the parents who go crazy staging “Elf on the Shelf” around the house. You can also embrace a culture change of multi-cultural awareness by celebrating and learning all festivities and holidays this season.
For example, my family is incredibly wacky. We have Thanksgiving lunch, not dinner, and the moment we finish eating we start decorating for Christmas. We unpack our pre-lit, faux, 10 foot tall tree, my mother’s crazy assortment of ornaments, and we hang the tree decorations according to my mom’s theme of choice for the year. Some of our themes have been color based- all gold, all silver, traditional red and green, Frozen blue and silver. Last year, our theme was Dr. Seuss with pink and green ornaments and some crazy ornaments with bouncing springs. For this year we decided to do stripes of colors, a similar Kate Spade-like decorum:
Another oddity that occurred on Thanksgiving was my family’s fascination with the selfie stick. In order to tame down the selfie stick movement since it was spiraling out of control, this year I convinced my parents to let me build a photo booth, with a neat back drop, and several props (stick, hand-held Santa beards, Reindeer ears, Santa Hat, mustaches etc.) for our Christmas Party. This activity will allow people to have fun making crazy faces, throw on their ugly sweater, and prop up for a quirky Christmas photo that is Christmas card ready for next year!
If you want to innovate in other ways not so known or common for your company and industry, show off your tech guns while making something wacky as well. By investing in digital, you can display your funny side and strengths. Agency, Victor & Spoils, created a holiday greeting card that showed off their Adobe Photoshop skills while also keeping it relevant and timely in our Photoshop-laden popular culture.
5. For 500 points. Executive review and amplification with this federal speech. Answer: What is the State of the Union Address?
Last, but certainly not least, the holiday season is an opportunity to recap and build the confidence in your operations. Just like the State of the Union Address, the State of the Company Address will prepare for the 7 must-dos before the end of the year and reflect the highlights from the past year, the ups and the downs. The annual review is very important besides the obvious health of business and pleasing shareholders’ interests. It shows the internal transparency from the C-level executives to the rest of the company. That kind of communication and humility is critical especially if the company did not meet their goals and the company is lacking faith. Finally, the presentation sets ups goals that gets your company pumped for next year! Here’s a template of a business plan found here. Or if you are looking to find new and interesting ways to make creative announcements for next year, use Instagram. Instagram just outgrew Twitter with a reported 300 million monthly users! In the app, you can choose a fun filter or make a hyperlapse. Whatever you decide, have a bit of fun with it to make an even greater connection with your employees and co-workers!