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3 festive marketing lessons to learn from (probably) the best Christmas film of them all

At this time of year, nearly everyone has a favourite film that helps them get into the festive mood.

Your most cherished movie might be The Muppet Christmas Carol, a classic story retold by Michael Caine and the irreplaceable Muppets.

Or, you might enjoy watching Jim Carrey’s thoroughly fantastic (and, frankly, unhinged) performance in How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

You might even have the most traditional tastes of all, and look forward to an annual rewatch of It’s a Wonderful Life.

If any of the above is your favourite, then I wouldn’t dare to try and change your mind. What I would say is that missing from this list is the (probably) best Christmas film of all.

That particular accolade belongs to the 2003 masterpiece, Elf.

Starring Will Ferrell and supported by other Hollywood heavyweights such as James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Bob Newhart, and Jon Favreau, this phenomenal film charts the story of Buddy, a human raised by elves.

After Buddy discovers that he is not a large elf but in fact a human, he travels to New York to find his biological father. Yet, having spent his formative years in the safe and magical space of Santa Claus’s north pole, Buddy is forced to navigate the truth of the real world. Oh, and he has to save Christmas, too.

Elf is fantastic not just because it is 97 objectively hilarious minutes, but because it is full of heart. You can’t help but come away from watching it with the warm fuzzy feeling you only get at this time of year.

It also contains wisdom that can be applied to many aspects of life, whether that’s how to show gratitude to your loved ones or – you guessed it – how to market your financial planning business.

Read on to discover three fantastic marketing lessons to learn from the story of the best Christmas film of them all, probably.

1. Be yourself

When Buddy arrives in the big city in search of his father, he maintains the childlike innocence he picked up among Santa’s elves at the north pole. Buddy is unapologetically himself throughout the film.

Whether it’s his excitement and zest for life – “Good news! I saw a dog today!” – or his unbreakable positive spirit – “I like to smile. Smiling’s my favourite.” – Buddy is thoroughly authentic.

In the moments when Buddy is encouraged to be less true to himself, such as going to work at his father’s firm, we see him struggle in the world of suits and ties. He’s far happier when he’s dressed in his elf garb, cramming cookies into the family’s VHS player.

As a financial planning firm, it’s important to be faithful to who you are and what your business represents.

There are various simple and highly effective ways you can show clients and prospects who you are. For example, you could have a “meet the team” page on your website, showing details of your team members who clients might work with.

This gives you a chance to inject a bit of personality, perhaps showing your likes and dislikes, or other hobbies and interests, so website visitors get a sense of who you are as people.

You could also have pages showing who you work with. Whether it’s those approaching, arriving at, or in retirement; business owners or young professionals; or any other specialism, showing exactly the kinds of clients you have the knowledge and experience to help is an effective way to build an authentic brand.

It doesn’t make sense to try and be a firm that you’re not, targeting clients who you won’t suit, and who won’t suit you.

Whether they’re aware of it or not, clients can often feel it when you’re not being true to who you are as a firm. Keep Buddy in mind and be authentic.

2. Show your passion

Buddy is not afraid to show his passion for the things he loves. His boundless enthusiasm for Christmas, and for life generally, is ultimately what endears him to his new family and the friends he goes on to make.

You are no doubt passionate about financial planning and advice – this passion is what drives you to keep serving your clients as effectively as possible.

So, demonstrate your passion for your career by emphasising it wherever you can. Engaging with other professionals on social media is one way you can do this, building a network and communicating with others for the betterment of the entire profession.

Meanwhile, if you have awards and qualifications that show your dedication to your vocation, be willing to talk about them.

Are you Chartered? Or perhaps a Top Rated firm or adviser on VouchedFor? Tell clients about these achievements, because they show that you’re in the job for the right reasons.

By showing your passion, you can endear yourself and your business to the clients you want to attract.

3. Keep at it, even when it’s difficult

Buddy’s persistence throughout Elf is why we as an audience root for him. Having had his world turned upside down by the revelation of who he really is, Buddy doesn’t allow the news to crush him.

Instead, he gets up and makes his way to New York, traversing the seven levels of the Candy Cane Forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and walking through the Lincoln Tunnel.

Even when he is rejected by his biological father on more than one occasion, Buddy battles adversity and in the end, is rewarded for his efforts, saving Christmas and being accepted by his family.

Marketing your business will inevitably come with setbacks. It can be exciting to start new marketing initiatives to begin with, and you’ll no doubt look forward to speaking to all the prospects who you can help.

But creating an effective marketing strategy is a long-term undertaking, and it likely won’t be successful overnight.

If you don’t keep this in mind, you might quickly become frustrated with the engagement on your content or the number of leads you’ve generated early on.

Instead, remember to take Buddy’s attitude to adversity and don’t give up. Give your strategy time to work, and maintain that same level of enthusiasm for all your efforts.

You might not save Christmas in doing so, but you’ll certainly give yourself the best chances of success by not letting minor setbacks get you down.

Get in touch

If you’d like help being yourself and “singing loud for all to hear” about your business in 2024 and beyond, please do get in touch.

Email or call us on 0115 8965 300 to speak to a member of our team.

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