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5 Thanksgiving Marketing Campaign Ideas for Purpose-Driven Companies

Five ideas for Thanksgiving campaigns to ensure that your holiday efforts create the most impact.

Holidays and other seasonal celebrations are perfect occasions to show off unique marketing messages. Whether you want to share new information about your brand or promote a charitable incentive, it’s a good idea to stay in tune with the calendar.

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches (for businesses and customers in the United States), purpose-driven companies can use this season of gratitude for marketing inspiration with Thanksgiving campaigns.

Keep reading to gain valuable insights on how you can approach the holiday as a purpose-driven brand. You’ll also discover five actionable marketing campaigns you can implement this month to kick off the giving season with intentionality.

How to Approach Thanksgiving Marketing

As a purpose-driven brand, you already dedicate a significant amount of time to considering the world around you. Although the traditional marketing messages this time of year involve big purchases, fast sales, and material items, your message might have a deeper or more significant meaning to make an impact.

As a brand that works on mission, here’s how to approach Thanksgiving campaigns from a holistic and strategic standpoint.

  • Go against the grain. The real meaning of the holidays can quickly get lost in extravagant consumer goods, doorbuster deals, and the anticipated shopping rush. Brands that slow down, honor their values, and even limit their hours to allow people more time with family and friends can stand out.
  • Go multi-channel. To really get the word out, tap into each one of your marketing channels. Encourage followers to spread the word and reshare.

Have some fun! Although you want to stay on brand, holidays are an opportunity to add a few clever twists to basic marketing messages. Host brainstorming sessions to gather the best, most creative ideas from your team.

Two people lying down discussing thanksgiving marketing campaign
For several years, REI has gone against the status quo. The company has used the #OptOutside campaign to encourage customers and staff to spend more time outside instead of shopping holiday deals.

5 Ideas for Thanksgiving Campaigns

This Thanksgiving, build your marketing campaign with others in mind. As a purpose-driven organization, you probably already have a good concept of your cause and the data you need about your audience. Put those pieces to work to craft holiday marketing messages that stand out.

Run a Matched Offer Campaign

A matched offer campaign draws attention to your brand or cause while offering the chance to make a monetary contribution to a nonprofit or charity. There are two ways to make this campaign work for the holidays:

  • Encourage customers to make a purchase from your organization, and dedicate a certain percentage of each sale to a selected group or charity.
  • Ask customers to send in proof of their personal donations so that your organization can make an equal contribution.

No matter which option you choose, make sure that your marketing messages clearly reflect any associated rules, limits, or instructions.

Share User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content is an inspiring way to build Thanksgiving messages that are personable, on-brand, and fun! You can collect user-generated content from your customers directly, or you can ask team members and staff to send in their own. Ideas include:

  • Pictures of family celebrations
  • Images or messages about what people are thankful for
  • “Behind the Scenes” shots as your organization preps for the holidays

The process of gathering and resharing UGC boosts audience engagement and builds excitement for what your brand will do next.

Create a Festive Hashtag and Invite Participation

Another way to leverage user-generated content is to develop a personalized hashtag for Thanksgiving campaigns. A hashtag allows you to group associated campaign messages in one place, and it naturally invites customers or audience members to participate and follow what others are doing through the hashtag.

While you can jump on the bandwagon of some of the top performing hashtags, it’s a good idea to create a brand-specific option as well.

One famous example is Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign that encouraged customers to enjoy the product, share with other friends and family, and document the experience.

Two women taking a picture with a “share a Coke” sign for a thanksgiving marketing campaign

Highlight Staff Members

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to recognize staff and team members who go above and beyond and share how grateful you are for their work. You may choose to host interviews, take a few snapshots, or let the person draft their own content. Recognize those individuals who embody your organization’s mission or who are giving back during the holidays.

Send Customer Appreciation Messages

Customers respond well to appreciation throughout the year, but Thanksgiving is an ideal time to express your gratitude for continued support. Your content can be as quick or as detailed as you’d like, and you can choose to send from the brand as a whole or from a particular team member (a founder or CEO).

If you normally sell a product or market a service, consider adding a discount or special incentive to your appreciation message. This step is completely optional but could boost conversion rates and show long-time customers that they matter.

Make Your Holiday Marketing More Impactful

To truly make your Thanksgiving marketing campaign stand out, it should have a different vibe than your standard posts or brand messages.

Visual cues will help customers know that you’re announcing something special while building excitement. If your Thanksgiving campaign is part of a larger annual campaign, consider bringing in professional graphic and web design for a polished and effective result.

Collaborate with your web or graphic team to incorporate holiday-related colors, symbols, or jargon. To be inclusive for different members of your audience, you can always stick to seasonal color palettes for a general (yet modern) look and feel.

Spotlight Community Impact

As a purpose-driven organization, it’s beneficial to showcase the results you’ve witnessed in your local, regional, or global community over the course of the past year. If your audience or customer base has contributed to this success in any way, don’t forget to include a thank you message that’s just for them.

Creative ways to spotlight community impact include case studies, impact reports, status trackers, or infographics. You can use these pieces of content to share important stats, figures, and activities that your organization is currently prioritizing.

Alternatively, you can use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to host a community event or to sponsor an activity that’s already taking place in your sphere of impact.

Marketing Platforms for Holiday Campaigns

Holiday campaigns are even more impactful when you take a multi-channel approach. Using every platform at your disposal ensures that the message gets out (especially if you’re running a limited time offer) and increases engagement. Plan targeted messages for the following outlets.

  • Email campaigns – Follow industry best practices regarding audience segments, send times, content, and design.
  • Publish fun and engaging content; make sure that you have a dedicated staff person responding to hashtags and direct messages.
  • Website or blog – Create roundups and landing pages that showcase your Thanksgiving initiatives while answering any questions that customers may have.

Important Takeaways

While it’s true that the holiday season can be full of so many competing marketing messages, there are ways that purpose-driven organizations can stand out. When it comes to Thanksgiving in particular, focus on pointing the spotlight on others.

By showcasing your commitment to charitable giving, looking for ways to serve the community, and extending sincere appreciation to your customer base, you can build an effective Thanksgiving marketing campaign that’s full of personality.

If you want to ensure that your holiday efforts create the most impact, contact the team at Acton Circle today. We’ll help you combine powerful messaging and appealing design so that you can reach your audience and continue to grow.


November 9, 2021