Top 3 Best Practices in Retail for Visual Christmas Storytelling

By: Sofie De Beule

December 24, 2014

Visual content has remained king throughout 2014 – especially during the holiday season when visuals are crucial to stand out. Visual storytelling doesn’t call for large budgets to achieve success. Simply telling a great story that will make people invest emotionally in your product can help gain retailers a strong edge over their competition. Consumers don’t simply buy a product, they buy an experience that makes them feel connected to the brand.

In order to deliver on an exceptional experience, you need to evoke emotions. The only way to appeal to people’s emotions is through a brilliant piece of storytelling. In general, combining visual content and storytelling is the perfect way to get your message across more quickly and concisely. Companies use visual storytelling to create awareness early in the buying process, which is why retailers greatly invest in visual storytelling during this period leading up to the big Christmas shopping hunt.

With Christmas just around the corner, we would like to share our top 3 picks for best practices that we came across online during this holiday season for visual storytelling in the retail industry.

1. Cartier: Winter Tale

Cartier knows their audience, and more importantly, the brand knows how to evoke an emotion and leverage the power of fairytale storytelling to inspire purchasing behavior. In Cartier’s Winter Tale, the luxury brand releases an enchanting video that ties in perfectly with the rest of the website’s design, which also contains a product catalogue.

2. John Lewis: #MontyThePenguin

John Lewis continues to surprise us year after year as the true master of holiday storytelling. At the end of the year, they keep raising the bar for other retailers. In the YouTube video they launched this year, ‘Monty the Penguin’ and a little boy take on the role of lead character. The heartwarming story by John Lewis actually sells dreams instead of hard selling, like many competitors do this season. Of course, storytelling isn’t limited to video content. The department store giant also created a smartphone app, storybook, soft toys, and in-store events to bring the story to life.

3. Ikea’s Holiday Collection

Ikea is always top of the bill when it comes to holiday campaigns. This year, like previous years, Ikea unveiled its holiday collection in a simple, yet charming way. Bear in mind that Ikea launches these campaigns all over the world. With that, Ikea acknowledges that holiday traditions might differ internationally, but the joy of sharing this time with the people you love is felt all over the world. With this image-centered campaign to promote their holiday products, Ikea speaks a universal language.

Key Tips to Remember From These Best Practices for Visual Storytelling

  • Step up your game, brands! At this time of year, everyone wants to jump on the Christmas campaign bandwagon. It’s all about outsmarting the competition. Instead of hard selling, tell a story and evoke an emotion.
  • Integrate your campaigns with social media, but understand its limits. Embrace the special features of each channel (whether that’s social media, website, TV, etc.), and be aware of their differences in getting your message across.
  • The storytelling element is equally as important as the visuals you use. If there’s no strong concept that aligns with your social media strategy, there’s no point in finding the perfect visual content to accompany your campaign.