As you plan your Valentine’s Day marketing campaign, it’s worth bearing in mind that just as the way we meet our partners has changed, so too has how our customers want to think about, visualise and experience love and romance.
While for years Valentine’s Day has been heralded by storefronts riddled with clichés – pink and red window displays, chocolate boxes and teddy bears – or images clinking champagne glasses, proffering of jewellery, and images of rooms full of rose petals – these tired stereotypes aren’t likely to set hearts aflame today.
By continuing to rely on visuals and mediums that are disconnected from the reality of customers, businesses aren’t showing themselves any love. Instead, they may well be missing out on an opportunity to make a real connection with a broader customer base.
Here are a few suggestions to make a deeper emotional connection with your customers this Valentine’s Day:
Go deeper on diversity
Despite iStock research revealing eight in 10 consumers saying they expect brands to be consistently committed to diversity and inclusion, only four in 10 feels accurately represented. As you plan your Valentine’s campaigns, look for imagery that represents diversity in body types, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability, and faith. After all, more than three quarters (75 per cent) of ANZ consumers feel it isn’t enough to have people of various ethnicities, backgrounds, and appearances in advertisements, and that companies need to do a better job at capturing people’s true lifestyles and cultures – and that includes Valentine’s Day celebrations that feel real.
People are craving meaningful connections after a year characterised by social distancing. In fact, there’s been a 61 per cent rise in demand for iStock images visualising connection and togetherness (up 113 per cent). Think about how you can focus on genuine connection – after all, across all demographics, consumers are drawn to images with personality and authenticity. And remember, connection can come in many forms. Case in point – our connection with pets runs so deep that they are now part of the new Valentine’s Day equation. In the US, people are expected to spend US$1.7 billion on their furry Valentines this year, according to the National Retail Federation, up 17 per cent from what these animal lovers were dropping in 2010. Here in Australia and New Zealand, our global survey with YouGov research reveals that 80 per cent of consumers say that “pets bring a special kind of happiness to my life”. By taking a more expansive view of what connection can look and feel like, you’re not only being more inclusive, but you are also opening up your business to benefit from a broader customer base.
After a hard year, for many people, love this year may be more about treating yourself. By depicting images or videos of people re-connecting with their passions and treating themselves to something special, your business can show that it’s moving beyond Valentine’s Day clichés to embrace a broader definition of love. Open up Valentine’s Day to a much bigger audience, including singles who are looking for an excuse to pamper themselves.
Take a video vow
Over the last five years, video use from our customers has more than doubled in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ). Statista estimates that the number of digital video viewers worldwide will hit more than 3.1 billion by 2023. The overwhelming majority of marketers say video helps drive leads and conversions. Think about where video might be more effective than images to spread the love this Valentine’s Day. Wherever you find gaps, consider how you could fill them with stock footage or repurpose footage you already have.
Even in 2020, the average Aussie was forecast to spend around $150 on Valentine’s Day, so taking the time to get to know their needs and reflect them authentically is well worth it.
No matter the size of your business, Valentines’ Day provides another opportunity to prove you understand and care about your customers – and aren’t simply trying to rinse and repeat the same tired romantic tropes for the sake of it.