It’s never too early to start planning. Weddings can take years from engagement to aisle; Jeff Bezos of Amazon (currently the world’s third richest man) apparently has a 50 year strategy for the online giant; JK Rowling waited 19 years to bring out the next book in the Harry Potter series, and at the cinema, Jason Bourne is still pondering his identity 14 years after it was first called into question.
And so, even though it may look like summer outside, we should start planning immediately as there are only 145 days to Christmas.
It’s always the challenge in the office – the first one to spot the Christmas decorations among the racks of the swimsuits and sandals. Online doesn’t count – thanks to Jeff’s strategy, on Amazon, you can order your Christmas decorations and get it by tomorrow.
The appearance of Christmas baubles in high street shops separates the planners from the just-in-timers. For the record, at the beginning of August last year, we found restaurants taking festive bookings and Christmas cards for sale in supermarkets – so there’s no reason to doubt that 2016 will be different.
Spontaneity is a great trait when it comes to long, hot summer evenings, impromptu gatherings of family and friends, even buying supper at the supermarket. For the retailers, struggling to make an honest buck in a squeezed market, impulsiveness is not their friend. Black Friday, the last Friday in November, is so named because it’s the first day in the year retailers go from the red to the black – that is, start to make a profit. So planning how to part the shopper from their money in the name of the Santa is vital.
With less than 3,500 hours to go, it’s a safe bet to know there are creative types in darkened rooms sorting out the annual John Lewis Christmas ad. Measuring return on investment is a dark art, but we do know for John Lewis, for around a reported £7 million to make it, their annual ad buys a massive amount of brand awareness.
And when there is such a high quality video the heart of the Christmas campaign, if retailers really want to maximize their investment, it’s not just the filming that needs to be planned in good time. Like any video, it’s vital it’s seen everywhere – which means supporting the video with social media, marketing, billboards and even merchandise.
There’s a lot that can be learned at Christmas. Peace on earth and goodwill to our fellow men would be a powerful lesson if we applied it. Taking the opportunity to spend some time with our loved ones would also be worth remembering. Giving a little to people who are less fortunate, even if it’s just by buying a Christmas card in September. And planning ahead – especially if you want to make a video that’s memorable, powerful and will keep on giving.