One thing is certain, the end of the year brings lots to celebrate.  No matter where in the world you are, there is sure to be an occasion that will bring people together.  One of the most recognizable of them all?  Christmas. Lights are shining through the windows, your coffee cups are red and green, and most likely you’re hearing  All I Want for Christmas  at least once a day.  We can’t deny it, there are some general expectations when it comes to the season, otherwise it just won’t feel like Christmas. 

Now, here’s an idea – what if we did look at Christmas as a brand?  Here at Livit, we’ve brought out one of our favorite strategy tools to help us map out the core messages of Christmas and how F&B brands are delivering this message through their guest experience:  The Brand Essence Wheel (BEW)

Christmas as a brand, what does that mean?

A brand is much more than its appearance, which is why we unwrapped The Brand Essence Wheel (BEW) for this one.  The BEW might not make the next holiday jingle but it helps identify the rational value that a Christmas brand offers as well as the emotional differentiators to target into the sweet spot, known as the Key Brand Benefit. 

When we hear Christmas we think of lots of decorations, gifts under the tree, Christmas markets, holiday parties and all the preparations for Santa Claus coming to town.  Politie Provisions  created a Christmas pop-up transforming their already well established bars to “Miracle on 30th Street.”  This pop-up is an immersive experience that transforms the day-to-day bar into a Santa take-over using everything you can think of when it comes to Christmas. No corners were cut in bringing Christmas magic center stage for guests.

On the other hand, Christmas is a time to spend with loved ones, to allow a moment for giving thanks, and to open an opportunity for bringing people together. We all know there is no better way to bring people together than food and drinks!  As much as we look forward to some home cooked meals – even the elves need some breaks between toy-making and gift wrapping. As a special offering during the holiday season,  Pizza Hut’s Triple Treat Box  it’s not only beautifully put together in a three tiered pizza gift box, but it also brings together pizza lovers to share, laugh, and gather around — complimenting its normal routine with some holiday cheer.

These are all rational and tangible. Everything that makes Christmas recognizable are the rational elements of our Christmas-brand analysis.  Got it? Now let’s take a look at the emotional half of our Christmas bauble. 

How does this holiday brand make us feel or look?

The Christmas “brand” is synonymous with the end of the year — when emotions run high. Our feelings are all over the spectrum from being thankful for the year that has passed to the readiness of jumping into new year challenges. One thing is certain, we are all eager to spread love through sharing, sharing, sharing!  When it comes to F&B, 44% of US consumers give gifts purchased from brands they are loyal to. (Kettle Fire, Dec 9 2021).  As we know from past Livit insights, loyalty between brands and guests are anchored around shared values. So why not team up with other like-minded brands to spread some holiday cheers together? Take Italo Restaurant’s  F&B Monday Christmas Market  for some inspiration.  Teaming up with chefs, partners, and sponsors, the Christmas Market served up an Italian Christmas treat with a portion of revenues and all donations going to a local charity, Heart to Heart.  An Italian family-style dinner for a good cause? Yes, please!

But wait. Let’s face it, not everything is all hot cocoa and reindeer kisses.   When we think about how Christmas as a brand makes us look, we quickly find keywords such as wasteful and materialistic coming onto our post-its.  It was a great reminder that a brand, like Christmas, can’t always control some negative associations in the minds of guests.  However, F&B brands can acknowledge this when building their own strategies. Chick-fil-A’s  Holiday Short  skips mention of the brand’s offering entirely and focuses solely on the intended message. McDonalds’  Inner Child short  aligns with their message to deliver “delicious feel-good moments,” reminding us that traditions and the joys of youth are some of the most important “feel-good” moments life has to offer. 

Both emotional aspects of how a brand makes us feel and look contribute to the values and personality of the  Christmas brand  itself.  To us, Christmas is fun and festive, selfless and caring, social and elegant.  It stands for generosity, tradition, and gratitude.  This brings us to the center of our Livit Christmas wreath: The Key Brand Benefit. 

Togetherness: Sharing love and happy moments with your family & friends. 

How would you describe Christmas?