Beyond ‘Happy Holidays’ – A Nod to Creativity and CSR


In the 21st century, the company holiday card presents opportunities to enhance brand visibility, announce a donation and boost company morale. With the simplification of Web-based design tools, e-cards are no longer limited to the domain of creative ad agencies or smaller entrepreneurial firms.

Greentarget’s right up there on the bandwagon. Our “PR Wonderland” holiday 2012 greeting touches on some of the major news of the past year and how our team has risen to handle it. Other professional services firms have taken all kinds of clever and strategic approaches, showing off their creativity and even social responsibility.

Last year’s PricewaterhouseCoopers e-card spiraled through the phrase “Happy Holidays” in an array of different languages – a fitting choice for a global firm with offices in 771 cities across 158 countries. The company took a slightly simpler approach this year, wishing “peace, love and season’s greetings” to its viewers via YouTube. Using the world’s most active video-sharing network proved an astute strategic marketing tactic: the video had racked up more than 6,000 views at last check and also boosted exposure to PWC’s own YouTube channel, which carries dozens of other videos that help promote the firm.

For other companies, the e-card is a chance to announce charitable giving. In 2011 Navigant invited its holiday e-card recipients to “decorate a Cookie for a Cause” by using an online, Flash-based program to add icing to their own blank pastry. Each decorated cookie would be converted to a donation of a dollar to the Global Foodbanking Network. Users were then given the option of sharing their finished cookie art via social media – a clever tactic that helped spread word of the program. When the holidays wrapped up, Navigant matched the cookies for a final donation of $7,400.

Draftfcb took a high-tech approach to its 2012 digital holiday card, which announced the agency’s contribution to the Coalition for the Homeless on behalf of anyone who signed the card using a computer mouse and an online robotic pen called an Auto-Graph. The signatures were then transferred to a 10-by-12-foot holiday card in the agency’s Toronto office and signers were named as contributors to the cause.

Companies are always looking for ways to announce their philanthropic decisions. Greentarget’s e-card in 2010 told recipients that in lieu of sending a printed card we’d be donating to Feeding America. Grant Thornton also went this route in 2009, announcing that instead of sending gifts and cards it would be donating to Feeding America on behalf of its clients.

And equally important, holiday cards are an ideal way to communicate a firm’s services to current and prospective clients. Huron Consulting Group’s 2011 e-card gave viewers a friendly reminder of its four main service areas. As e-card designer Ciara de los Reyes wrote on her website, “The challenge was to incorporate the four sub-brands for the first time and create something that stood out from other electronic cards.” Her solution was a 25-second e-card that began, “This holiday season, we’ve captured our favorite moments,” and asked the viewer, “What will yours be?” The card then cycled through an array of festive photos before finishing off with four cards, each displaying the name of one of the brands: Life Sciences, Education, Legal, and Healthcare.

Holiday cards don’t have to get tossed in the circular file or stuck on a bulletin board in the company kitchen. With electronic design they can be attractive, ecological and trendy – the perfect vehicle to transmit your company’s personality and successes.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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