As we head into mid-July, it is safe to say that our mindsets are now fully immersed into the swing of summer. We’re thinking of BBQs, holidays in the sun, pub gardens at the weekend and chestnuts roasting….already!
It’s July and we are officially talking about 2017’s Christmas festivities which are now only five months away. The main reason why Christmas has been such a hot topic this month is due to the seasonal press event known as ‘Christmas in July’, which took place last week at Victoria House in Bloomsbury Square.
The event is held in conjunction with a group of PRs, brands, retailers and influencers who are keen to showcase their range of Christmas gifts, product collections and seasonal goods to a broad selection of the press ahead of the launch of their Christmas publications. Media in attendance often include ITV, The Daily Mail, TIME magazine and The Guardian, so it is pivotal for brands to gain the exposure they need before journalists start gathering content ideas for their Christmas gift guides.
Nichole Goodall, PR and Content Marketing Coordinator at PRESENT Agency, said: “Attending the Christmas in July event allows us to pitch key items to drive sales. Christmas is a time that people are willing to spend money so being included in a gift guide means sales of our brands will rise. Essentially our job is to build brand awareness so it is very important we do this to succeed”.
Brands typically secure the attendance of 200 – 300 members of the press to their individual Christmas In July events, whilst the festival itself is open to over 1,000 targeted press, bloggers and influencers.
As all magazines work to certain lead times, with some weekly magazines being collated one month from the time of going to print and some monthly magazines three to four months in advance, it is essential for brands to plan their press event a month or two before these lead time dates in the hope that the journalist will include their products in their Christmas shopping pages.
The range of products available to sample and observe at the festival is diverse, from health and wellbeing, beauty, clothing and accessories to kitchen gadgets, home interiors and food, meaning there is something for everyone at the event which will relay into the magazines, newspapers and online sites over November and December.
Kara Godfrey, Travel Reporter at The Daily Express, said: “The CIJ event is useful for two reasons. For monthly magazines it helps with their gift guides as they work three months in advance so July is the perfect time to be working on the Christmas issues. For online, it’s good to see key trends emerging”.
Kara added: “It is great to get to know the PRs, as they may have other clients or campaigns that are relevant”.
So, if you’re a startup company or a newcomer to the vast realm of PR and marketing, it is worth considering the importance of Christmas In July as a marketing strategy in itself. Not only are you making important, influential contacts within the industry, you’re also able to gain an insight into what products and brands you’re competing with.
As buying behaviour has changed considerably primarily due to the exponential growth of online sales, brands should be using this event plus the time afterwards to leverage their digital and social campaigns to heighten the success of featuring in the press in the lead up to Christmas and over the festive period.
After all, it’s all about being ahead of the curve and lining up those content marketing opportunities to stay ahead of time when seeking to make a difference.