Clare Sheffield is a brand expert and designer who works with a range of food and drink clients of all sizes on their brand identities. She helps businesses create packaging, marketing and retail environments that clearly and effectively communicate their key messages and personality. In addition to acting as the year-round brand guardian, she often helps businesses with their seasonal consumer and business to business presence - from packaging, gift ranges and point of sale to corporate gifting and staff rewards - via her business Strong & Together.
Last year, she worked with her long-term client Mozzo, an award-winning Coffee roaster and retailer, on seasonal coffee cups. Customers and retailers liked them. They were a talking point. This year the Mozzo seasonal range has expanded to a selection of two designs. For Blackberry Cottage her SPOONFLAKES design is as much an annual feature of the brand as the award-winning Christmas Puddings they package.
Here are Clare’s top three recommendations to making the most of Christmas:
Make your seasonal investment appropriate and relevant. Christmas should be treated as any other brand campaign or event. It’s a moment in the both the social and business calendar that should be responded to in a way that is appropriate to your business pocket and your brand.
Consider what you would like to achieve through creating a Christmas product or campaign. How will you know if your ambition was successful? Will it be through sales, or will you need to give people a way to show you that they got what you did, and appreciated it?
2. Go for impact
The power of colour shouldn’t be overlooked. It doesn’t need to be red, white and green to say Christmas. Retaining your own brand colours, but using a Christmas reference – a word, a shape or a playful reworking of something already familiar to your customers, could be the best choice. Impact means single mindedness. You don’t need a multitude of Christmas references, one well-chosen idea will be more impactful than a whole host of generic ones.
3. Show your personality
Don’t go kitsch just because it’s Christmas, unless kitsch is at the heart of your brand. Find way to be elegant, playful, rustic, refined, whatever best reflects your brand personality in all the choices you make. Hold a mirror up to the culture and sentiment of the season, but make sure that it is still the face and voice of your brand that greet your audience.
It’s not too late to think carefully about the design you use this Christmas. When it comes to saying thank you, there are many ways a designer can help you to cleverly customise off-the-shelf items, so that it feels as if they were only ever meant to be for your brand.
However, really being strong and together in your approach is best grounded in excellent planning. It’s about being ready to have the right things, in the right places, at the right time. If you’re a retail brand, it may be clear how Christmas should be treated and when you should start working on it. For everyone else it is worth remembering that, a food brand with a seasonal product such as Christmas Puddings or a twist on a standard product such as Christmas Spiced Latte, will have been working across the supply chain, and considering PR and adverting schedules from around about the moment when last year’s wrapping paper hit the bin.
Your Christmas ambitions may be smaller, but to ensure that you are included in the whole party, spring into action early in the year. Get your ideas tied down, wrapped up and photographed by working with a designer. Be ready to celebrate Christmas early. Give yourself the best opportunity to meet the summer deadlines needed to feature in the pre-Christmas press. Be prepared to make a great impression at the trade show, when the buyers are in their sunglasses but secretly have Christmas on their mind.
Clare Sheffield, Founder & Creative Partner at STRONG & TOGETHER
Clare’s experience includes the re-branding of Fortnum & Mason, creation of the design of the Sainsbury’s Basics range and judging on many brand and packaging award panels.
If you would like to discuss design for your business contact STRONG & TOGETHER
www.sandtdesign.co.uk email@example.com 0777 555 8449