Trendjack; Don’t Hijack

fruitcake

Here at Double Forte, we love holidays. One, because we’re always up for some fun. And two, because holidays can be a useful way to bring some relevance to a client’s message. Our food and wine clients can share recipes and pairings for special occasions. Our technology clients can honor innovation and people on significant days throughout the year, and our consumer clients can create themed events and promotions tied to days of the year. If there’s a greeting card opportunity, there’s a content opportunity.¬†Plus, holidays, national days of observation, and even the made up celebrations (hello, Fruitcake Toss Day?), all come with hashtags that help get brand generated content in front of new viewers.

However, while holidays may seem like an easy way to spruce up a content strategy, they can be tricky to navigate. As with any form of trendjacking (celebrating a holiday, connecting to current events, or commenting on a breaking story) there is a fine line between appropriate and awkward – sometimes even offensive. Stay on the right side of that line and your brand appears relevant, on trend and of the moment. Cross that line and you run the risk of offending the masses, sparking a tweet storm and offending customers and stakeholders.

So, as your thinking through your content strategy, be careful about which events you hitch your message to. Religious holidays, days of remembrance, partisan politics are all risky topics. That’s because they have deep, personal meaning to many. National fill in your favorite food days, fruitcake themed holidays, and generic Hallmark events (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day) are safer bets. Still, they can be dangerous if not handled with care. Avoid: overgeneralizations, stereotypes, and jokes – unless you’ve tested them with a diverse group.

Know the origins and history of the holiday (you do know who Anna Jarvis is don’t you?), and beware¬†cultural (mis)appropriation. Err on the side of positivity and celebration and stay on brand, and you too can learn to trend jack, not hijack, like a pro.