Craig Rowe

Techlead / Developer

13th December 2008

Seasonal Branding?

Ok, I admit it this is a repost of something I commented on about 2 years ago on my old blog, but still...

Whenever a holiday event occurs (Halloween, Easter, Christmas) sites will modify their design to reflect the season. This can be anything from snow effects to cartoon characters appearing on top of the usual design. We’ve all seen it.. pumpkins and bats on halloween, snow, trees and santas at christmas and egg hoarding rabbits at Easter.

I'd be interested in seeing stats or empirical findings into whether that temporary re-branding has an effect on visitors i.e. whether it has an off-putting effect in the vein of "popups are annoying and so is this downpour of snow over my content". Or indeed the alternative that people feel more connected to the site that seems to be in some way 'human' by celebrating/recognising an external event.

I guess there's a relation to 'real life' situations (if that's even a valid label, as so much of our lives are now online) whereby shops will put up decorations, change storefront windows etc. It not only acts as a way of bonding with possible clients but gives the indication that something's changed or been updated, even if it hasn't.

However I wonder how much the opposite is true? In that it reflects upon your professionalism, or even that people think you must have free time on your hands or worse, are not spending time on their work!

Maybe it is best reserved for a particular subset of websites. I'd probably categorise it as follows:

Ok to perform Seasonal Branding?
Personal Sites
Freelancer Sites
Traditional 'shop' sites... i.e. amazon, tesco etc
Not so ok to perform Seasonal Branding?
Strictly regulated industries... i.e. legal, accounting, 'serious' places
Government sites
Corporate sites

The main difference in my view being the level of desire to anthropomorphise a company/organisation with the semi-parallel desire for a perception of professionalism.

I'd be interested to know other peoples thoughts on this.

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