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November 24, 2014


Being based on Oxford Street makes you think more about the Christmas season than anywhere else in the world. I reckon the people of Bethlehem think less about it through November and December than I do being in the heart of London’s consumer artery.


Recently my preoccupation with Christmas has been around the elements of this annual event that make it such an incredibly sticky occasion. What is it that this festival has that other festivals don’t, and why year on year does it get bigger and bigger? Now there are probably many modern day psychoanalysis as to why, but I personally believe it has less to do with the over commercialisation of the festival and more to do with people’s innate need to feel part of something shared.


Brands have tried since the beginning of time to create their own traditions and a number succeed but only ever for a limited period of time. Many people have written about the nature of the most followed major religions and their rituals, and have questioned what it is that makes seemingly rational individuals do seemingly irrational things. So what can brands learn from this? Or at least what can they learn from Oxford Street around this time of the year? Here are my three thoughts…

  1. Timing is everything. Christmas happens at the end of the year and is the final blow-out before you can legitimately start with a clean sheet. If brands thought more about customers life cycles and less about product cycles they would achieve greater connections.

  2. Put on a show. Don’t do things by half measures and expect people to flock to you. People value what you value and only if you commit wholeheartedly to something can you expect people to respond positively. Remember you can’t be half pregnant.

  3. Keep going. Stamina is the key to anything successful but especially when looking to create an ongoing movement. In the early days of anything, sometimes it feels like you are on your own and it is easy to pull the plug as you don’t see instant take up or interest. Events live or die by how long their supporters can commit to them. This always takes you longer than you want.










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