There is no disputing the fact that companies across all industries and verticals step it up during the holidays—from holding food drives to volunteering to spearheading charitable campaigns.
One of my favorite campaigns took place two years ago when eBay, in partnership with Toys for Tots, set up two magical window displays in New York City’s Herald Square and San Francisco’s Post Street featuring storybook toys such as teddy bears, trains, and horses. By using the eBay mobile app and zapping the QR code, visitors were able to bring the toys to life and consumers could purchase a virtual toy, which translated to a donation between $2 and $10 for Toys for Tots.
More recently, American Cruise Lines teamed with the Connecticut Food Bank to donate $50 to the Food Bank for every ticket sold for its Thanksgiving cruises.
But perhaps no campaign has pulled at heart strings more than the recent WestJet Christmas Miracle campaign. If you haven’t yet heard about this—or seen the incredible video—take a look below before reading any further. Published just four days ago, the video has already amassed over 14 million views and almost 20,000 comments.
What was so incredible about this campaign was that the travelers did not even know that they were participating in anything. They simply engaged with the brand—WestJet—through its flashy, holiday-decorated kiosk and passed some time before waiting to board. After a hopefully turbulent-free plane ride, they landed and headed to the WestJet terminal to wait for their luggage. It was only then that they realized they had been part of an incredible brand campaign when the presents they had asked Santa for—through the kiosk—started showing up on the conveyer belt.
It was an innovative, truly magical way to demonstrate loyalty to WestJet customers, to bring warmth to the hearts of families and kids, and to spread holiday cheer during the most beloved winter months. And what made it particularly heart-warming was the fact that it was such an intimate, personalized giveback campaign.
So what can you learn from the WestJet holiday campaign? That the extra personal touch really goes a long way. Now, I am not going to say that if I had been on that fortuitous WestJet flight that I would want to book all future trips through that airline. But I would certainly describe WestJet as a brand that cares, that goes the extra mile, and that really values customer loyalty. After all, this is the essence of building brand awareness and fostering customer retention.
The next time you head into the conference room to plan a VIP campaign, customer rewards program, or incentive offering, put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Consider not only efforts that will make them happy but those that will surprise them and make them feel that much more confident about your brand. Keep in mind that the extra steps we take are often well worth it, whether it’s putting in the extra 30 minutes on that sales proposal, spending a little extra time with our in-laws during the holiday season, or saving up money to take our families on trips. That extra mile can make a world of difference.
So be creative with your marketing campaigns. Don’t just settle for mediocrity and a run-of-the-mill plan that can be ironed out in the 30-minute meeting.