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Strategic Ways PR and Advertising Can Leverage Valentine’s Day to Create Brand Relevance and Boost Sales

BrandiQ

Today is Valentine’s Day. Hurray! In Nigeria, and across the globe, people are now prepared and ready to celebrate this day in different forms and fashions. Here comes a day when some hearts will be gladly mended, and other hearts unfortunately broken, in curious and ironic designs, especially those who are fixated about the allures and fortunes of this annual ritual.

Some will pencil their poems on WhatsApp, others on Facebook, some will Tweet, many others will Instagram and TikTok. In all, they are verisimilitude to a customized cantilever – paintings of love on modern day canvas.

However, for some people, Valentine’s Day is more than eating and drinking. Angela Bruwer, the executive academic head of the Faculty of Marketing, Supply Chain, and Business Management at the IMM Graduate School, South Africa, was quoted to have emphasised the significance of strategic opportunistic marketing in this regard.

“Marketing isn’t just about selling products: it’s about creating meaningful connections with consumers and leveraging various touch-points to drive business success,” she explains. She notes that holidays and special events serve as perfect occasions for brands to showcase their values, engage with their audience – and boost sales. “By aligning their marketing strategies with these moments, companies can create memorable experiences that resonate with consumers and foster brand loyalty.”

This writer agrees with Angela. Whereas some may see Valentine’s Day as merely a day for love, flowers, chocolates, greeting cards, eating and drinking, most savvy businesses and their marketing consulting allies – Public Relations, Advertising, Outdoor, Promotions, and others, have their eyes on the dashboard of brand relevance, and as a veritable opportunity to push the market and drive sales for increased profitability and return on investment (ROI).

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Desmond Ekeh at BrandiQ examines the various ways that businesses and marketing communication professionals, especially PR and advertising in Nigeria explore or can explore the Valentine’s Day, celebrated globally on February 14th, to connect their brands with consumers, evoke emotions, and drive sales. Through strategic marketing communication efforts, brands can leverage the romantic sentiment surrounding this holiday to enhance corporate brand relevance and boost return on investment. Let us start with storytelling.

Storytelling and Brand Narrative: 

PR professionals can craft compelling narratives around the brand’s values, products, or services that resonate with the spirit of Valentine’s Day. By telling stories that evoke emotion and connection, PR efforts can help build a stronger bond with the target audience and differentiate the brand from competitors.

Through creative storytelling PR can connect the brand to Valentine’s Day cultural relevance to the target audience. Valentine’s Day has become increasingly popular in Nigeria, with couples exchanging gifts, dining out, and celebrating love. Brands can tap into this cultural significance by incorporating local traditions and customs into their marketing communication strategies. For example, telecom companies like MTN and Airtel have run campaigns highlighting love and connectivity, emphasizing the importance of staying connected with loved ones during Valentine’s Day.

This is an opportunity that all brands should tap into. PR consultants, adept for creating ideas, should draw a calendar of events for their clients and this must incorporate the Valentine’s Day. It is a great occasion to put your brand or your client on the front door of cultural proximity in Nigeria. Many organisations such as First Bank, Coca-Cola, FCMB, Access Bank, and others, are already hooked to the fountain and are seriously sipping fresh water from the occasion of Valentine’s Day. PR has the power to connect the brand, the event, and the consumer together through effective and affective storytelling.

Media Relations:

Securing media coverage in relevant publications, blogs, and digital platforms can significantly increase brand exposure during Valentine’s Day. PR professionals can pitch story ideas, press releases, and expert commentary related to topics such as gift-giving trends, relationship advice, or romantic experiences. Positive media coverage can drive traffic to the brand’s website, increase social media engagement, and ultimately boost sales. There is nothing that makes an editor happy as much as a good and relevant story. Valentine’s Day provides a good opportunity for PR professionals to curate brand relevant stories and pitch them to the editors. This helps to keep the brand visible and increase the brand’s voice in the market place.

Collaboration with Influencers and Celebrities:

Collaborating with celebrity Influencers and micro-Influencers who have a strong presence in the romance, lifestyle, or gift-giving space can amplify the brand’s message during Valentine’s Day. PR professionals can identify and reach out to Influencers whose audience aligns with the brand’s target demographic and facilitate partnerships for sponsored content, product reviews, or social media campaigns. For example, Nigerian music stars like Davido and Tiwa Savage have partnered with brands like Pepsi and Star Lager Beer to promote special Valentine’s Day initiatives, including concerts, brand endorsements, and exclusive merchandise launches.

However, there is still a mix-up in the role of celebrity Influencers and PR consultants when it comes to the matter of brand promotion and communication. It is true that the Influencers actually influence customer behaviours based on their large following; but a brand’s message and surround communication artifacts must be well curated to account for the corporate image of the organisation and the business target of the brand.

A wrong use of a Celebrity can spell doom for a brand. A wrong use of words by the Influencers can spell doom for the brand. Corporate organisations must ensure that they incorporate PR professionals in their Valentine’s Day marketing communication plan to ensure synergy between the brand essence and the activities of the celebrity Influencers. PR will provide that needed strategic communication road-map. To avoid crisis Influencers marketing must be moderated by PR strategy and control. Crisis management is a tough road to travel. Please avoid it!

Community Engagement: 

Engaging with the community through events, charitable initiatives, or social responsibility campaigns can enhance the brand’s reputation and goodwill during Valentine’s Day. PR professionals can organize activities such as charity drives, couples’ workshops, or themed events that foster a sense of connection and solidarity. By demonstrating a commitment to making a positive impact, brands can build loyalty and trust among consumers. The activities should be based on stakeholder mapping where campaign preferences are localised to fit into local needs at Valentine. Understanding the unique preferences and behaviors of Nigerian consumers is essential for crafting effective Valentine’s Day campaigns.

Brands can adapt their messaging and offerings to resonate with the local audience. For instance, beverage brands like Coca-Cola and Guinness have launched limited-edition Valentine’s Day packaging and themed promotions targeting Nigerian consumers, showcasing their products as perfect companions for romantic celebrations. The limited edition campaigns are in most part for the upper segment of the audience. Such limited edition could also be targeted at the local audience in the communities. To achieve this the marketing communication consultant should understand his brand’s essence and how to connect this to the target market using culturally relent messaging and illustrations to fit.

Crisis Management: 

Crisis management is an area most organisations do not pay much ttention to when designing their Valentine’s Day activity. This should not be the case. We live in a world of uncertainty. Anything could happen – even in the occasion of a company’s valentine party for her customers. Anything could raise negative sentiments against a brand, especially in this age of citizen journalism and internet bullying. In the event of any negative publicity or crisis situations, PR professionals play a crucial role in mitigating damage to the brand’s reputation. By promptly addressing issues, communicating transparently with stakeholders, and implementing effective crisis management strategies, PR can help safeguard the brand’s image and minimize the impact on sales during Valentine’s Day and beyond.

Content Creation and Distribution: 

Content is king. Without appropriate content communication becomes daft. PR professionals can create engaging content such as blog posts, infographics, videos, or user-generated content that aligns with Valentine’s Day themes and resonates with the target audience. In today’s digital age, brands can leverage the power of digital and social media platforms to engage with consumers and drive sales during Valentine’s Day. Creating captivating content, running targeted ads, and launching interactive campaigns can help brands stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Nigerian e-commerce platforms like Jumia and Konga have leveraged social media Influencers, user-generated content, and flash sales to create buzz and drive online sales during the Valentine’s period. By leveraging owned media channels and distributing content through press releases, social media, email newsletters, and influence networks, PR efforts can generate buzz, drive traffic, and ultimately lead to increased sales. Overall, PR plays a vital role in shaping the brand’s narrative, fostering relationships with key stakeholders, and creating opportunities for meaningful engagement during Valentine’s Day. By leveraging PR strategies effectively, brands can enhance their visibility, credibility, and ultimately drive sales during this romantic holiday.

Promoting Gift Ideas and Experiences:

Valentine’s Day is synonymous with gift-giving and romantic experiences, providing brands with ample opportunities to promote their products and services as ideal gifts for loved ones. Fashion brands like Jumia Fashion and Konga Fashion have curated special Valentine’s Day collections, featuring trendy apparel, accessories, and beauty products tailored for couples. Additionally, hospitality brands like Transcorp Hotels and Sheraton Lagos Hotel offer romantic getaway packages and dining experiences to attract couples looking to celebrate the occasion in style.

PR consulting firms should get involved in the planning of Valentine Day activities geared towards driving sales. For instance, they can advise clients to understand their market and segment the activities to benefit their various audiences. When the cost of participating in a Valentine’s Day activity is too expensive for a specific market target, the brand may lose out from the patronage of that segment, as they may shy away from participation as a result of non-affordability. It is important for brand custodians to understand the full value of PR consultants in order to benefit from the depth of their knowledge and capacity in designing activities to enhance brand relevance and sales drive.

Valentine’s Day presents a prime opportunity for brands in Nigeria to strengthen their connection with consumers, boost brand relevance, and drive sales. By embracing cultural significance, tailoring campaigns to local preferences, promoting gift ideas and experiences, engaging with Influencers, and leveraging digital channels, brands can effectively capitalize on the romantic spirit of Valentine’s Day. Through strategic marketing communication efforts, brands can cultivate lasting relationships with consumers and achieve sustained success in the Nigerian market.

We have discussed the role of PR in leveraging Valentine’s Day for brand relevance and to boost sales. How can advertising be strategically used to promote sales during valentine? Let us look at some points starting from Emotional appeal.

Emotional Appeal: Advertising agencies can help their clients to craft advertisements that evoke feelings of love, romance, and affection. Use imagery, music, and language that resonate with the emotions associated with Valentine’s Day. Whether it’s showcasing tender moments between couples or highlighting the joy of giving and receiving gifts, tapping into these emotions can create a powerful connection with your audience.

Targeted Messaging: Tailor your advertising messages to different segments of your target audience. For example, create ads specifically aimed at couples celebrating their first Valentine’s Day together, long-term partners looking for unique ways to express their love, or individuals celebrating self-love and empowerment. By understanding the diverse motivations and preferences of your audience, you can deliver more relevant and compelling messages.

Gift Ideas and Solutions: Position your products or services as ideal Valentine’s Day gifts or solutions. Highlight how they can enhance romantic experiences, create memorable moments, or express heartfelt sentiments. Whether it’s jewelry, flowers, dining experiences, or personalized gifts, emphasize the value they can add to Valentine’s Day celebrations.

Limited-Time Offers: Create a sense of urgency by promoting limited-time offers, exclusive deals, or special discounts for Valentine’s Day. Encourage consumers to act quickly to take advantage of these promotions and secure the perfect gift for their loved ones. Countdown timers, flash sales, and early bird discounts can all help drive immediate action and increase sales.

Omni-Channel Approach: Implement a cohesive omni-channel advertising strategy that reaches consumers across multiple touchpoints. Utilize a combination of online channels such as social media, email marketing, search advertising, and display ads, as well as offline channels like print, radio, and out-of-home advertising. By ensuring consistency in messaging and branding across all channels, you can maximize your reach and impact.

Personalization and Customization: Leverage data and technology to personalize your advertising messages and offers based on individual preferences and behavior. Use targeted advertising, dynamic content, and retargeting strategies to deliver tailored experiences that resonate with each customer. Personalized recommendations and gift suggestions can help consumers find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift with ease.

Post-Purchase Engagement: Extend the Valentine’s Day experience beyond the initial sale by engaging with customers post-purchase. Follow up with thank-you messages, exclusive offers for future purchases, or invitations to join loyalty programs. Encourage customers to share their Valentine’s Day experiences on social media and participate in user-generated content campaigns to foster community and brand advocacy.

By employing these strategic approaches to advertising, brands can effectively capitalize on the Valentine’s Day holiday to drive sales, deepen customer relationships, and enhance brand affinity.

BrandiQ

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