Christmas may only have taken place three months ago, but savvy retail brands are already planning for their most profitable time of year in 2017, says Courtney Rogers, founding partner of Christmas in July, an annual platform for retailers to showcase their Christmas gift ranges to the press in one location. “Getting gift products into the Christmas features and gift guides can have a huge impact on sales,” she says. “It’s an important part of retail PR strategy and it starts in July.
Christmas In July is the annual PR initiative where brands launch their festive gift collections to the media. This poses challenges for retailers including getting product ready in time, allocating budget and securing good attendance from the press when they can only attend a fraction of the invitations they receive.
Here are our top five tips to get the press interested in your products in time for Christmas:
Strategy discussions should start approximately 12 to 18 months in advance, with every department working together to ensure time frames are met and product collections are ready for the key July period. “If something isn’t ready by July, it has to move to the following year” Jo Malone
2. Host a press launch
Face time and interaction with key media is important to firmly establish awareness of your new product range. It’s a time to build relationships and immerse them in your brand experience, meaning your products are at the forefront of journalists’ minds when it comes to the gift guides. This can also help you to understand best sellers and plan production accordingly.
There has been a surge in the journalist community for Christmas In July to be run like London Fashion Week, joining other brands to collectively launch gift collections to the press. The Christmas in July Festival facilitates this, minimising journalists time out of the office and increasing your brand exposure to the press at a fraction of the cost of hosting an individual event, it’s a win-win!
4. Product information and imagery
Sharing the right content with the press is important to get featured in the gift guides “If we can’t find the right information, we just move onto the next product” explains Lorraine Fisher, who worked on the 2016 Daily Mail Gift Guide. Gather and document all information in the planning stages, from product colours to last delivery dates, to maximise your chances of getting featured. The Gift Guide Portal can help you facilitate this in a simple and consistent way.
5. Sampling / Gifting
Gifting at your press launch and sending samples to the press in the lead up to Christmas helps to keep relationships and product awareness with the press. This is a great solution if all of your products aren’t ready by July and with the Gift Guide Portal, you can simply add products as and when they become available.
- The Christmas In July Festival takes place on 12 and 13 July 2017 at Victoria House, Bloomsbury, with over 100 brands exhibiting their gift collections to 1,000+ media and influencers. More information can be found at www.christmasinjuly.co
- Don’t forget to login to Gorkana’s media database to access thousands of media calendar listings and lead times for features and news opportunities, as well as our ready-made lists, which cover sectorised opportunities, seasonal dates and topical subjects.