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When it comes to ceremony marketing, Hallmark has a appealing accessible advantage. As the country’s oldest and bigger architect of greeting cards, the cast is about alike with holidays, abnormally Christmas. Over the accomplished century, Hallmark has cornered the Christmas accessory bazaar with its Keepsake Accessory line, and back 2008, the Hallmark Access has fabricated 136 aboriginal Christmas movies, according to the Wall Street Journal. This year, the arrangement and its sister channel, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, will add 36 new titles to that list.

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Yes, it’s safe to say that Hallmark gets Christmas, but that aforementioned ablaze cast storytelling is not bedfast to a audible season. Year round, Hallmark’s agreeable business action is all about caring.

“Great artistic curtains into a broader cultural charge that alone your cast can fulfill,” says Ann Herrick, business administrator at Hallmark Gold Crown. “In contempo years, we’ve apparent a huge affinity arrears in the world. It’s the algid aftereffect that is a byproduct of the added tensions surrounding our differences, whether they’re political, racial, religious, or animal preference. We feel like Hallmark is abnormally positioned to allocution about caring by absorption on what we all accept in accepted and how caring can ultimately accompany us afterpiece together. So every allotment of agreeable about the holidays and beyond, should serve to champion, facilitate, and affect added caring—along the way, adorning Hallmark from a agenda and accessory company, to a caring company.”

So what happens back you amalgamate Hallmark Gold Crown’s #CareEnough attack with the company’s allegorical Christmas spirit? Incredible ceremony business acquaint added brands should add to their own ambition lists.

Although best American brands delay until afterwards Thanksgiving to acquaint Christmas stories, Hallmark Gold Crown launched its ceremony agreeable in mid-October. That makes sense, because the Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” aboriginal cine chase begins October 27. But while best of these movies will focus on adventurous caring, Hallmark Gold Crown tends to focus added on familial caring, common caring, and—in the case of this year’s ceremony content—parental caring.

In “Griswold,” a ancestor inspires memories of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation back he again tries (and mostly fails) to date the absolute Christmas lights for his family.

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“Countdown” stars an abrupt and able kid who discovers a artifice to accomplish Christmas appear early.

“Working Mom” is a ardent admiration to audible parents, their abutment networks, and the accouchement they assignment so adamantine to accommodate for.

Finally, “News” appearance a real-life lesbian brace who get the alarm they’ve been cat-and-mouse for, aloof in time for the holidays. (Warning for affected criers: You adeptness not appetite to watch this one at work.)

“These acceptance represent a key aspect of Hallmark Gold Crown’s agenda and social-led ceremony business efforts,” says Herrick. “Each is aggressive by our #CareEnough initiative, which encourages our admirers to acquisition small, yet allusive means to appearance the bodies in their lives and communities how abundant they care. The holidays are the absolute befalling to bless allusive moments, allotment memories, and appearance care. And this messaging comes through in our creative.”

This December marks the 21st Hallmark ceremony for Herrick, who has formed in a array of business roles and divisions. She’s spent the aftermost three and a bisected years in her accepted role acknowledging Hallmark Gold Crown stores—the company’s arrangement of independently-owned agenda and allowance specialty shops. Along the way, she’s abstruse a lot about Christmas, caring, and consumers.

Here’s her best admonition for added agreeable marketers—whether the acceptance they acquaint are melancholia or evergreen.

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Understanding your admirers is Business 101. But Hallmark doesn’t blow on its analysis laurels. Instead, the aggregation keeps adorning its access as its admirers evolves. For example, the #CareEnough action is alone three years old, but the cast afresh conducted all-encompassing ethnographic and qualitative analysis to bigger accept its barter and how Hallmark can add added amount throughout their journey.

“All of our accepted agenda assignment was built-in from this undertaking,” says Herrick. “Out of that research, we absolutely abstruse about some audible differences in our consumers’ caring behavior that enabled us to clarify our cast ambition and our cast promise. Our architecture ambition is a Caring Connector—a woman who has a abysmal acceptance that activity is inherently acceptable and bodies who affliction for relationships authority the apple calm and accomplish it a bigger place. She holds her relationships. She takes pride in her adeptness to apperceive the needs of others. She welcomes and cultivates new relationships. Not anybody can see the relationships the way she can, so she puts in the accomplishment to accumulate relationships airy and helps them grow.

“That analysis additionally helped us clarify our cast promise—’Hallmark helps you alive a caring, affiliated activity abounding of allusive moments.’”

Of course, bazaar analysis isn’t the alone way for brands to apprentice about their audience. Amusing media can additionally crop admired insights.

“One of the things I adulation about amusing media is the adeptness for the chump to absolutely allotment in real-time—as she’s seeing the storytelling—what she thinks and what she’s experiencing. Our business aggregation actually reads every animadversion from every chump because they are about accouterment us acumen about what they adulation about the brand, what they anticipate of the agreeable itself, and how it affects their lives, which is amazing.

“How abounding brands can say a chump watches your adventure and again wants to accessible up and acquaint you about their story? Again they will acquaint us about their acquaintance with Hallmark products. Not alone is this advantageous from a attack perspective, but I allotment all of that with our artefact development team.”

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Herrick says that already brands accept done the assignment to absolutely accept their admirers and how they can advice that audience, they can adeptness agreeable that’s added accurate and relatable. And the best relatable agreeable is usually a abundant story.

“I absolutely anticipate that storytelling is the best way to accomplish our artefact accurate and relatable,” says Herrick, “and that’s why you see the ambit that we represented in these four ceremony spots. ‘Countdown’ is actual relatable for parents with baby children. The Clark Griswold atom curtains into the admiration that parents and grandparent accept to plan the absolute Christmas, while reminding them that the altogether amiss moments are the ones you bethink throughout the years. And the ‘Working Mom’ atom is added of an always-on acumen about audible and alive moms, but additionally actual accordant at the holidays because the artefact that we were administration was an accessory that could admire what was activity on in her accustomed activity with her child.”

Herrick says acrimonious a admired amid the four ceremony acceptance is affectionate of like actuality asked to aces a admired child, but “News” is the one that resonates best with her.

“My bedmate and I are clumsy to accept children, so acceptance was an breadth that we explored. Ultimately, we absitively that our lives were appealing accomplished already through our nieces and nephews and a additional accessory who was affectionate of aloft as our son. But accepting advised adoption, seeing that attempt and again seeing the joy, that absolutely resonated with me. Alike for moms who apperceive the joy of accepting a adolescent adjoin adopting a child, I anticipate it’s still actual relatable, and that’s what I absolutely adulation about this anatomy of work.”

Image attribution: Chris Benson

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Hallmark Gold Crown utilizes activating media to serve specific acceptance and artefact recommendations to alone customers.

“We apperceive our chump behavior by what they’ve bought from us at dotcom, or if they’ve visited our site. So we’re personalizing our agreeable to her based on these needs. Over the aftermost few years, we’ve additionally done a lot of assignment appear compassionate what we alarm affection targeting.

“For example, if we accept a new mom, we can go acquisition her beyond channels and sites that she’s already at and visiting daily, and appearance her the Baby’s First Christmas accessory that was featured in the ‘News’ story. Or for audiences with a affection for Marvel characters, we can serve them a ambit of ornaments and allowance items accordant to that passion. We accept additionally tailored communications deeply to the media strategy, with retail letters that animate users to acknowledgment to their alone carts on Hallmark.com, or amend an accessory they afresh looked at. So our access relies actual heavily on our adeptness to acquisition her, accept her needs, and bear her a actual claimed message.”

Speaking of award customers, Hallmark has invested heavily in agenda business beyond channels. Along with the four Christmas stories, Herrick’s aggregation has created a abounding apartment of agenda Christmas content—including added video content, six-second YouTube bumpers, and Instagram acceptance that serve to absorb consumers while alarming them with new means to use Hallmark products.

“Our business is focused on extensive the appropriate chump with the appropriate bulletin at the appropriate time,” says Herrick. “We all apperceive consumers absorb a lot of time online, so our business efforts absolutely reflect that, and we accept a attendance beyond abounding altered agenda channels. Amusing channels are actual important to our business strategy—both organically and through our paid media plan. We additionally run commercials on the Hallmark Access and accomplice with them for on-air integration. And because we are a greeting agenda company, we still accelerate cards to all our Crown Reward associates and added loyal barter every year.”

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Hallmark has adult analytics tools, but actual simple metrics. Herrick and her aggregation pay best absorption to these areas of altitude back allegory the success of their efforts:

“We’ve been actual acknowledged with this approach,” says Herrick. “Looking at both online and offline sales over the accomplished three years, we’ve absolutely been able to optimize our plans—both in real-time back the campaign’s live, as able-bodied as demography the year-over-year abstracts on what agreeable is assuming and ultimately active adjoin attract, engage, and convert.”

Because Hallmark is a a captivated company, Herrick can’t allotment specific sales achievement data. “But let me acquaint you, it’s alive for us,” she says. “We are seeing acceptable online sales, but alike added importantly, we’re seeing offline sales as well, and we’re seeing that our business is accidental to both. We accept a actual advantageous Gold Crown arrangement of food and online business. Our specialty retail business is strong.”

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Featured angel attribution: Chris Benson

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