Marketing Strategy

How Can Smaller Brands and Retailers Create Standout Marketing

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When I wrote this blog it was the beginning of the Christmas advertising season probably the most important time for any consumer brand to grab sales.  With TV adverts in abundance, email marketing campaigns filling your inbox and boosted posts everywhere the 3 second rule to grab attention has just been halfed.  Leading the advance with a huge media budget and much anticipated TV commercial was  John Lewis and its  2015 advert. From its humble beginnings back in 2007 their TV ads have quickly gained momentum to become the king of all king of adverts heralding the start of the Christmas season.

And with it comes the charge from other brands – Argos, M&S, Boots etc with their own epic creations aimed at grabbing that precious share of increased seasonal consumer spend.

Long gone are the days of functional ads. Today it’s about a tug at the heartstrings, a good hearty laugh, an epic film and in some cases not a product to be seen. The top TV adverts are less about the hard sell of products and more about making you feel warm and fuzzy about their brand.

So how can smaller consumer brands compete? Most wont have the budget to stretch to creating a glossy TV ad. But that doesn’t mean you can’t scream out your message through the social channels and instore in a powerful and engaging way. With some clever and imaginative marketing tips you can create your own buzz around your brand.


1) Less is more

Be clear on your marketing communication campaign. A scattergun mix of different messages will only confuse your customer. Ultimately it’s about being different, interesting and better than your competition. So what product or service will resonate most with your customer?  Focus on this “brand truth” and tell that story consistently across all channels.


2) Who are you talking to?

Put yourself in your customers shoes. As a smaller brand you probably will have a better understanding and a closer connection to the consumer than the corporates and that is a big advantage. So think about how you can make Christmas better for them.

I don’t know about anyone else but for me there is a big void between the arty Christmas images projected from the TV screen and the reality of the high street. In the real world there are crowds, queues and car parking disagreements which all adds up to stressed out fellow shoppers.

So what oasis of calm can you bring to the annual shopping or dining experience?

What information do your have on your customers in order to create a personalize offer or message?

What enhanced customer service ideas can you introduce to create a hassle and stress free feeling?


3) Creative Standout

We know that email inboxes and social media feeds will now be filling up with every Christmas message going so its NOT what you say but HOW you say it.

The marketing communication formula used by John Lewis, Sainsbury et al is relatively simple:-

*  Beautiful film

*  Great Soundtrack

*  Ability to tug on your emotions whether that’s feel good or tear jerker

So think how you can take these factors and try and replicate into your own campaign.

Visual Marketing 

This is your greatest opportunity to create standout. On email or on your social feeds a striking visual has the ability to stop your customers in their tracks. So take some time to think about creating stunning visuals that grab attention.


Show off your product or shop with the best photography possible. Beautiful photography is a must from the angle of shot and filters to the close up detail. Done right this will create interest and intrigue.


Christmas Visual Merchandising 2015

The White Company Christmas Window Display 2015

Merchandising is a great marketing tool. Let your inner creative go wild and create a show stopper of a window display. We shop with our eyes and this is a great opportunity to showcase your product in a true story telling way. Done right, it will have the “pull” factor to increase footfall into your shop.

In-store think about how your product displays can inspire your customer. We all know that feeling of having to buy for distant relatives and not having a clue where to start. Well laid out product displays that create ideas make it easier for customers to shop and therefore increase spend.

Sensory marketing

There has been a lot of research that proves the right scents and sounds can increase spend by triggering emotions and memories. For example cinnamon bakery items, Christmas scented candles, the right type of uplifting music can help get customers in the Christmas frame of mind that creates a lasting impression.


So what’s your Christmas story? There’s nothing stopping you competing with the big boys. You can create your own unique Christmas experience by combining your visuals, scents and sounds. Personalising your marketing this way will give your brand its own buzz and point of difference to set you apart from the competition.


Need help with inspiration or planning.  Sarah Mieszkian has years of experience brainstorming ideas, developing and implementing winning Christmas marketing campaigns.  So if you have a project to discuss please give us a call or email at


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