Sure, it’s still August. Most people are still fully in summer mode: swimming, vacationing, grilling … but up in the north, chilly breezes have already begun to blow. Take a visit to Copper Harbor, Michigan, a tiny town at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Even this early in August, trees are starting to show red and golden leaves. Soon, the fall colors will spread south.
But you already know that if you’ve been out and about. Savvy shoppers are well-aware that Halloween candy is out on the shelves, and pumpkin spice everything can be had at Starbucks and beyond. Head to Hobby Lobby - you’ll find fall decor galore. It’s coming.
Believe it or not, those who work in PR, advertising, and marketing have already prepared for this moment - months ago. In fact, seasoned PR professionals start planning a holiday PR campaign at least 6 months in advance! But what if you haven’t been doing this - marketing and advertising - for ages? Here are some tips to help you transition your PR campaign into the autumnal season.
This part is fun. Consider tailoring your narrative to embrace fall themes. That can mean discussing the spirit of change, the beauty of autumn leaves, or the anticipation of the holiday season. Weave these elements into your PR messages. Stories that resonate with the season can connect more deeply with your audience.
Granted, these things can take time to create. If you haven’t already begun it’s not too late, but get started! We’re over halfway through August - but that still leaves time to craft specific PR messages that cater to autumn.
Several brands have historically leveraged the autumn season to bolster their PR and marketing campaigns. For instance, the iconic Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL). This drink has become synonymous with fall. Each year, the company's PR and marketing machinery promotes the return of the PSL with great fanfare, using social media teasers, influencer partnerships, and even merchandise around this beloved drink.
Adjust the color palette, imagery, and overall visual aesthetic of your campaign materials to reflect the warmth and coziness of fall. Think about using hues of orange, brown, and gold, or images of pumpkins, falling leaves, and autumn landscapes.
This can take many forms. You can add fall colors and visuals to your website and/or social media platforms, for instance. It’s always a great idea to post cozy fall-themed reels or pictures on image-heavy platforms like Instagram. Even just a walk through the changing leaves with a popular tune behind it on TikTok - along with your brand tag - can be effective.
Retailers like H&M typically launch new collections for the fall season. Using autumnal settings in their advertising, they evoke the feel of the season while showcasing their latest fashion pieces.
Consider organizing events that tie into the season to draw attention to your company and increase engagement. If you have a more online-online business - like ecommerce or digital services - this could be a virtual webinar with a fall background, a Facebook live “fireside chat”, or a series of fall-themed videos on social media.
A brick and mortar business has the opportunity to get out into the community and participate in or sponsor fall events - a pumpkin carving contest, a haunted house, a special trick-or-treat event,
Be aware of the changing weather, too - and use it to your advantage. In 2018, IKEA UK launched a PR campaign centered around embracing nature during the colder months. The campaign encouraged customers to bring nature into their homes during the autumn and winter months using IKEA products.
L.L.Bean's 'Be an Outsider' Campaign encouraged people to spend time outdoors, even as the weather turned cooler. Through a series of ads and PR events, the brand promoted its autumn-appropriate outdoor gear while emphasizing the beauty and tranquility of the season.
This could also be a great time to host a fall-themed get together or employee appreciation day: treat your staff and their families to a trip to the pumpkin patch or host a fall party.
As the year winds down, take a moment to reassess your PR objectives. Adjust your strategies to ensure you're on track to meet end-of-year goals, or set new milestones that reflect the seasonal shift.
Embrace the spirit of fall, a season of transformation and reflection, which offers a fitting backdrop for this reassessment. The changing leaves and shorter days remind us that time is fleeting and priorities may evolve. Try syncing your PR strategy with the rhythm of the seasons to help your campaigns remain timely, resonant, and in harmony with the broader ebb and flow of the year.
Fall is packed with holidays and observances, from Halloween to Thanksgiving. Align some of your PR activities around these dates to stay relevant and timely in your audience's minds. Amidst the backdrop of changing leaves and cooler temperatures, these occasions offer a golden opportunity to craft messages that deeply resonate with the sentiments of the season.
For example, say you’re in the hospitality industry. This is a great time to craft a campaign that focuses on travel and “going home for the holidays”. Highlight the comfort and nostalgia associated with autumn getaways, and position your services as the bridge to cherished family reunions and cozy retreats. Tap into these universal sentiments to create a resonant and emotional campaign, making your brand a part of your customers' cherished fall memories.
Real-world example: building on its popular "Share a Coke" campaign, Coca-Cola once released Halloween-themed bottles with names like "Witch" and "Ghoul" to celebrate the autumn holiday. And Reese's released a series of Halloween-themed ads where they jokingly claimed their Peanut Butter Cups tasted even better in the dark, playing off the theme of nighttime and trick-or-treating.
Maybe it seems easy for food and beverage companies to tackle Halloween; what if you’re in tech? Maybe you recently launched a fintech company that you’d like to promote. How can Halloween tie into that? Well, you could host a "Tech or Treat" event, where attendees get to learn about the latest fintech innovations while enjoying some Halloween treats. You could also play on the theme of "ghost accounts" or "zombie subscriptions" and offer insights on how your fintech solution helps manage or eliminate them.
Another angle could be creating a Halloween-themed campaign highlighting the "scary" pitfalls of traditional banking and how your fintech solution offers a safer, more transparent alternative. Enjoy the fun and spooky themes of Halloween! Even tech companies can craft engaging, memorable campaigns that resonate with the season and their target audience.
Monitor social media and news outlets to keep abreast of trending fall topics. Whether it's the latest fall fashion, a popular autumn drink, or a cultural event, find ways to integrate or engage with these trends in your PR campaign.
This is a great example to go by. It will vary depending on your industry, of course. Maybe you’re a small business owner with a home town restaurant; decorating your establishment with pumpkins and offering hot apple cider will go a long way.
Maybe you’re in finance - that’s a little harder to autumn-ify. But you could consider hosting a seminar or webinar on end-of-year financial planning, using fall-themed graphics and visuals. This can evoke the spirit of preparation and reflection that autumn brings. Another approach could be to offer "fall financial check-ups" for clients, so that they're set for the winter and upcoming new year.
Just try drawing inspiration from the season; even industries that seem distant from the autumnal theme can find creative ways to make their PR strategies resonate with the mood of the moment. Whether it's through thematic content, seasonal promotions, or simply the aesthetics of your campaign, there's always an avenue to infuse a touch of fall into your outreach.
As temperatures drop, warm up your communications. Use more personal, intimate language in your messaging. Consider sending out thank-you notes or early holiday greetings to your stakeholders, appreciating their support throughout the year.
The coziness of autumn provides a unique opportunity to foster deeper connections with your stakeholders. As people retreat indoors, seeking warmth and comfort, they tend to be more receptive to genuine, heartfelt communications. The season evokes feelings of gratitude, closeness, and reflection, making it the perfect time for brands to reciprocate the loyalty and trust their audiences have granted them. Infuse warmth and sincerity into your PR messages. This helps you align with the essence of fall and also nurture lasting, authentic relationships with your community.
Transitioning your PR campaign to embrace the essence of fall not only keeps your messaging fresh but also allows you to connect with your audience in meaningful, seasonally relevant ways. There’s so much to have fun with - decorate your establishment with skeletons, post spooky memes to your social media platforms, craft pumpkin-flavored goodies as part of your seasonal menu - no matter what industry you’re in, there’s a way to make fall a part of it.
Autumn is an alluring and cozy time, with vivid colors and an introspective vibe. It often stirs emotions and nostalgia, making people recall their childhoods. If you can align your PR strategy with these themes and feelings, you tap into a universal resonance that transcends mere product promotion. It becomes a celebration of change, preparation, and reflection. Leveraging the unique characteristics of the season helps in building a narrative that's both authentic and memorable, fostering deeper relationships with your audience while showcasing your brand's adaptability and sensitivity to the changing times.
Imperium Group is an American public relations and marketing consultancy firm. Founded in 2016, it specializes in guaranteed placements, creating utmost transparency for its clients. Imperium Group generates over 15M impressions a month for its clients. Its team is based out of New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles.
For more information about Imperium Group, please see https://navigator.imperiumgrouppr.com/.