My Biggest Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Branding

As the holidays draw closer, it is important to refresh your company on the dos and don’ts of the holidays.

For example, do throw a holiday party; don’t get drunk and embarrass yourself at said holiday party.

As with parties, the line between good holiday fun and bad business is a thin one. Here are my biggest dos and don’ts when bringing out your holiday side.

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Do: Stick to your brand values 

The Starbucks’ red cup controversy is perhaps the easiest example to put here. The release of their 2015 holiday cups, “outraged many people who [saw] the move as an attack on Christianity.” The lack of Christmas symbolism led some to go as far as boycotting Starbucks for the holiday season.

Starbucks didn’t back down. They kept their red cup because it represented their brand values. Values of unity and inclusiveness and creativity.

CNBC explains that Starbucks’ “holiday cups were meant to be a blank canvas for customers to create their own stories, inspired by the doodles and designs that customers have drawn on white cups for years.”

Despite the controversy, Starbucks won in becoming symbol for for inclusiveness. A move that it has continued to promote through its “Unity” cups of 2016.

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Don’t: Make it all about the sales

Sales are perhaps my ultimate love-hate relationship. I love that they save me money, but I absolutely hate that they have come to define the holiday season.

Years of working in retail have taught me that no sale is worth sacrificing family time for. While the savings are there, it is important to remember what makes the holidays special in the first place.

This goes for businesses too.

Regardless of the potential hoards of shoppers, businesses should allow their employees to enjoy time off during the holidays.

REI even goes as far as paying employees to take Black Friday off and head outdoors instead. Last year, this campaign became a national symbol with its own hashtag, #optoutside.

Instead of seeing the holidays as a consumer whirlwind, try to remember what made them special in the first place. Stick to your values, ditch the sales.



Cover photo courtesy of


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