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Branding Change in a Traditional Holiday Market

The history of Valentine’s Day, and the story of its patron saint, is shrouded in mystery and some controversy. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.

While also celebrated in Canada, Mexico, England, France and Australia, it is Americans who will spend more than $17 billion dollars this year on the holiday, mostly on candy, flowers, special dinners and romantic cards. But a recent survey indicate that what people really want is less sweets and gooey, sentiments and more electronics, but giving a sweetheart a gift of a new Gameboy, smartphone, or even the best and latest “Pad”(which is devoid of the traditional expressions of romance) may not meet the expectations of the heart. Some caution may be in order, to spite all the scientific study about what is an appropriate gift, there are some theories we should consider very carefully before testing in practice. After all, the very origins of Valentine’s Day are deeply rooted emotion and tradition.

Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. In addition to flowers and card giving, more than 30 percent of Americans will purchase something sweet to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the traditional heart-shaped box of chocolates, pink and red M&M’s and the iconic heart shaped message conversation hearts displaying messages of love.

All have their position in the holidays celebration, but Hershey’s wins out as the top brand candy buyers intend to purchase this year, followed by Russell Stover and Godiva. But whether gifting flowers, cards, candy or electronics, brand association is vital to establishing an effective strategy for businesses to capture a respectable share of the Valentine’s Day gift giving market.

Manufacturers don’t have to produce chocolate, flowers or jewelry to take advantage of the great marketing opportunity surrounding Valentine’s Day. As consumers seek out the perfect gift for their special someone, they’re looking for items that are unique, humorous memorable or special. A fresh label may be just what shoppers need to understand the value of a product. “Like Cupid’s arrow to the heart, an eye-catching, revamped label can capture consumers’ attention and affection,” said Anne Marie Campbell, Lightning Labels Business Development Manager. “This Valentine’s Day, companies that stand out are those investing in packaging that embraces the festive quality of their brand in a unique, fun way.

Whether appealing to the deeply entrenched, traditional gift giver or the new electronics crazed consumer, making in-roads into the Valentine’s Day market will require some creativity, flair, and exploration to develop a successful brand that works effectively with continually changing consumer tastes and a fragmented market economy.

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