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7 questions to ask yourself before piggy backing off national holidays 

Should you mark King Charles’ coronation as a business and if so, how should you do it?

With the upcoming coronation on 6 May, many businesses will be asking themselves these questions and assessing what the best course of action is.

Whatever the occasion, whether it be a national holiday or an international day marking an important cause, businesses should think carefully and ask themselves some key questions before piggybacking off them, for example sharing a blog and making changes such as adding a banner to your website, just like when the late Queen died.  

Trends can become an important part of your marketing strategy. Taking Valentine’s Day as an example, Plann found that the average person between the ages of 25 and 34 in the US spends $300 on the day every year. Most brands aimed at that age bracket should therefore be planning what they can do around Valentine’s Day to build their audience and customer base. Maybe creating a special landing page on their website incorporating a promotional offer. 

But it’s important to not just mindlessly follow trends without thinking about why you are doing so as a business. Here’s some key questions to ask before deciding whether to piggyback on a national day. 

1. Will jumping on a trend boost your figures?

Engaging with trends can be a great way to boost your brand, build your audience and attract customers to your website. Whether you share a statement and update your website or you design a full marketing campaign around this theme, there are several ways you can authentically contribute to conversations around national days. 

If executed well, contributing meaningfully to conversations around national holidays can bring huge benefits to your business. For example, according to Plann, 88 million Americans shop on Black Friday each year. That’s a huge number of people who could be interested in your brand if you talk about Black Friday as part of your marketing strategy. 

2. How will you mark a national holiday?

There are a number of options for how your business might mark a national holiday, and again this depends on the type of business you are, what your audience engages with and how close to the topic you are. 

A brand associated with the royal family for instance, will likely focus all their communications and marketing on the coronation changing their homepage to promote suitable products, while a beauty brand that has nothing to do with the royals may simply choose to put a message of congratulations on their website. 

3. What can you gain?

Engaging with national holidays and cause-related days can bring in new audiences to your website as well as invigorate your loyal ones because such a huge number of people will often resonate with what is being marked or celebrated. 

It’s also an opportunity to get creative, show your brand’s personality and have some fun where you may not always be able to with other campaigns, especially if the national day is positive and celebratory.  

Humour is another amazing tool if used effectively and in the right circumstances. It can get people talking, sharing and commenting on your content, reaching new audiences in a different way. 

4. Is it your place to comment?

This is a very important question to ask before embarking on a campaign around a national holiday, especially if you’re dealing with a sensitive issue. 

Brands must ask themselves if they have the knowledge and expertise to comment on it. Do you operate in that space? Does your organisation reflect what you are advocating for? If not, why are you commenting and what are you bringing to the conversation? If you’re finding it tricky to answer these questions, it might not be appropriate or meaningful for you to comment.  

Take Pride Month, for example. Many organisations will change their logos to the Pride flag or use the rainbow in their marketing to show support for Pride. While on the one hand it shows amazing progress that companies are supporting LGBTQ+ rights, it is so important to make sure you could detail how your organisation is supporting this cause internally, should someone ask. ExxonMobil was called out, for instance, when it put a rainbow banner on its US Twitter for Pride but didn’t for its India Twitter account, where homosexuality is still stigmatised.  

5. Are you being virtue-signalling?

That brings us onto one of the most important considerations. If someone asked you to list the reasons why you are commenting on a national holiday or cause, and share what you can bring to the conversation, do you have clear, solid answers?  

If you are dealing with a sensitive issue, you cannot only mark it on social media so that you look good and ‘moral’ to audiences. This will quickly be seen as virtue signalling, and people may call you out if you don’t have a clear link to what you are commenting on. Maybe consider writing a blog and add it to your website before the event to share your views. 

Take L’Oreal Paris as an example. Following the rise in support for Black Lives Matter after George Floyd’s killing in 2020, L’Oreal Paris posted in support of BLM. The problem was the company had been called out for discriminating against Black models in the past – and so their posting about BLM did not go down well with audiences as it was seen as inauthentic.  

Being called out for virtue signalling will be far more damaging to your brand than if you decide not to comment at all. Remember there will always be many other organisations who do have the expertise to comment – and you can instead plan more carefully for the national days that are appropriate to your brand. 

6. What happens if you don’t engage?

You may conclude that you shouldn’t comment on a national holiday, whether it’s the King’s coronation or something else. This could be for a whole host of reasons, perhaps because you think it will annoy or bore your audience, or simply because you feel your business has no right or reason to comment on a certain issue. 

That’s a completely fair decision – but you must be prepared to back up your reasons why you have not commented, especially if it’s a very popular national holiday. If your brand is high profile you may get audience members asking you why you haven’t commented. There’s a risk your brand may look disconnected from the world around you – so make sure you have an answer should you be questioned. 

7. Will it resonate with your audience or customers?

Before making a final decision on whether to comment, and how you will do so, ask yourself if your core audience will really care about the topic.  

Identify who your key customer base is, pinpointing multiple groups if you need to, then work out if you can form a campaign around the national day that will resonate with these groups. If the answer is no, you probably shouldn’t be spending time piggybacking off the national day when you could be focusing your marketing efforts elsewhere. 

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to whether your business should acknowledge national holidays or support causes on your website or across your social media because it very much depends on whether you genuinely think your business should be commenting on it and whether your audience will engage with it. Make sure you have reasons and evidence for your decision whatever that may be and feel confident that whatever you decide, that is the right choice for your organisation.  

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