Eight Days of Hanukkah

When I put out the call for contributors for the 12 Days of Christmas series, Lindsay immediately tweeted that she’d love to do a post about the 8 Days of Hanukkah. I instantly loved the idea and basically stalked her until she sent something to me (thanks, Linz for being so understanding). If you follow Lindsay on Twitter, you know she’s got a hilarious balance of sass and expertise. Readers, you’re in for a treat with this one!

♠ ♠ ♠

Hi, I’m Lindsay, a graphic designer who blogs about design and the lovely things in life at Linz Loves You. I provide creative and quirky branding and design services for my fabulous clients nationwide. But, today I’m going to tell you a story…

…Once upon a time in 167 BC, the Jews living near present-day Jerusalem had their land taken over by the Greek army and their emperor Antiochus. A small group of these Jews banded together to rebel against the Greek and retake their land — these became known the Maccabees. Once the Maccabees successfully regained their land, they returned to the Temple in Jerusalem to reclaim it as well. They wanted to re-purify their holy space by burning oil in the Temple’s menorah for eight days, a religious ritual, but they discovered there was only enough oil to burn one night. As the story goes, they lit the menorah anyway… and the oil in fact lasted for all eight days.

You’re probably wondering, why the history lesson? And certainly, why the history lesson on a marketing blog? Well, if you look closely, there are some elements of the Hanukkah story that can be directly applied to your brand’s branding and online presence. Nothing quite as drastic as going into battle, but there are some interesting ways to learn from this event and apply it to your digital strategies.

Here are “8 Ways to Make Your Digital Presence the Hanukkah Miracle of Marketing”

1.) Be memorable. 

The Hanukkah story is memorable because it’s not just another bloody battle. Something out of the ordinary happened. The same goes for your online presence. Your brand needs to be memorable and stick out from the crowd. When you see golden arches, you think McDonalds’ — that’s the kind of memorable you want to aim for.

2.) Longevity is key.

In this ever-changing world of social media, where “new” Twitter becomes “old” Twitter overnight, it’s hard to keep your end goal in mind: You want your brand to be successful and long lasting (like the eight nights of oil!) It’s important to think long-term strategy and not just hop on every trendy bandwagon that comes along. Sure, auto-DMs might have been cool for about five minutes, but now? They’re generally seen as disingenuous at best…and a perfect example of how sometimes, a tried-and-true method — like personally reaching out to people — can be the best method.

3.) Stick with it.

If the Jews had just let the Greeks take over their land, chances are no one would be around to retell this story today. How does this apply to your brand? Don’t just lie down and take it when a competitor comes along! If a competitor is suddenly blowing you out of the water, take notice of what they’re doing better than you and examine your own branding/social media failures. Maybe you’re sending too many tweets telling people to hire you. Maybe you should back off on Facebook status updates. Whatever your shortcomings might be, it’s good to take a step back, learn from them, and fight back by making your brand even more awesome.

4.) Be yourself. 

This goes along with being memorable. The Jews were persecuted for who they were, and fought back to defend their way of life. Granted, it’s a bit less drastic when we’re talking about digital strategy and branding, but the core principal still applies: Be yourself. Personally, I love when companies like Blowfish Malibu have a picture of the person actually running the Twitter account as their avatar — it gives the company the appearance of friendliness and approachability. Customers and clients want to talk to a human being, not a faceless computer.

5.) Retell your story.

One of the big traditions of Hanukkah is retelling the story of what happened to the Maccabees. Likewise, retelling your brand story across all of your social media channels should be a “tradition” as well. Specifically, you want to retell your “story” through consistent branding: fonts, colors, logos, even photos. Keep your branding consistent on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, even LinkedIn. Doing so will reinforce the impression created by your branding and make your company more memorable.

6.) Don’t land your fat in the fryer.

Another Hanukkah tradition is to eat fried food, to remind us again of the miracle of the oil (and because it’s tasty!) This is a tip I’d suggest leaving the “fat in the fryer,” as it were — as a business, it’s important to infuse your brand with personality but still maintain some semblance of professionalism. Granted, “professionalism” and brand image is certainly not a universal standard, and no one expects every brand to speak and act exactly the same way. More than anything, this is just a reminder to be aware of your social media presence and how it’s received. And please, if you do happen to land your metaphorical fat in the fryer, fess up graciously and MOVE ON. (If you need a reason why this is a good strategy, just read this post about The Bloggess and her insane fiasco with BrandLinkComm)

7.) Take risks.

However, like the Maccabees in days of yore, it’s sometimes good to take calculated risks. In my experience, oftentimes a risk that many small business owners hesitate to take is investing in a designer to create or rework your branding. As a designer and small business owner, I’ve taken this risk myself (I’m currently reworking my own branding) and also helped other brands do the same. Like with any risk-taking, you’ll feel some trepidation at first, but the key is to do your reconnaissance (i.e. research) to find a designer who you think will help you define and distinguish your brand, then together come up with a solid “battle plan.”

8.) Keep lighting those candles!

Finally, the most well known tradition of Hanukkah is to keep lighting candles, every night for eight nights. In developing your brand and online presence, this means you have to pay attention to your social networks and take note of what’s successful. If something works for you (for example, themed blog posts once a week, like Redhead Writing’s “Bitch Slap”) keep doing it! If you find that no one has looked at your LinkedIn page for the last three months, then maybe you don’t need to dedicate as much time to it. Just make sure that when you do decide to be present — whether via a blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc. — that you start strong and stay dedicated to it (as long as it’s working). There are few things more annoying than messaging a company on Twitter and having it land on deaf ears… only to discover that their Twitter page hasn’t actually been active for months. Commit to lighting those “candles” and it will pay off.

So there you have it! Branding and digital strategy tips… vis-a-vis the Hanukkah story. Please feel free to reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter or my blog with any questions (or if you just want to chat about typography, DIY projects, Twitter, Broadway musicals, diet Coke, Starbucks or owls. Happy holidays!

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About Donna Queza

I'm an optimist grounded in realism. That's what I love about working on the web -- the possibilities to be creative and distinctive are endless, but there's always a need for those reality-driven, data-fueld folks who make our dreams into realities. I like to think I hover somewhere in the middle - creative, quantifiable internet marketing solutions.

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