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Seasonal Strategies - How to Tap into America's Obsession with Fall

A Morning Consult poll recently revealed a truth that many marketers already know: Fall is officially America's favorite season. More than 40% of U.S. adults chose fall when asked to name their most beloved time of year. The reasons why are critical for brand marketers to understand, but first let's break down the stats and insights:

  • Nearly 2 in 3 Americans (63%) said they enjoy fall foliage, followed closely by Thanksgiving (58%) and fall weather (56%). Holiday shopping was mentioned by 31%.

  • People of all ages associate the season with positive emotions and memories. More than two-thirds of those surveyed said feelings like “content,” “optimistic” and “nostalgic” captured their attitude toward fall either somewhat or very well.

  • A majority of those polled (63%) said they have a favorable opinion of brands that run fall-themed promotions and advertising. These numbers jump even higher among Millennials and Gen Z.

So, it's clear that this love runs deep. But why? Psychologists point to fall's ability to usher in what are called temporal landmarks—that is, significant moments or points in time that allow us to break from the past and encourage renewal and forward movement. In other words, fall offers a reset button that most of us really want to push.

Still, mental health experts say that many more love the season because its traditions and nostalgia provide comfort in turbulent times. The ceremony of carving a Halloween pumpkin or baking grandma's legendary apple pie makes us feel connected to safe-and-warm memories of the past.

With this knowledge in mind, brand marketers can tailor seasonal campaigns to evoke all the right feels and offer consumers what they need during this season—whether it's an opportunity to refresh and start something new, or find comfort, peace of mind and familiarity in seasonal tastes, sights and sounds.

Here are a few actions to take while planning for next year:

1 - Refresh your audience analytics next summer. Knowing what makes your loyalists and enthusiasts feel most alive is important. So is understanding what keeps them up at night. Having up-to-date psychographics at hand is a good start. But it's also wise to get a gauge on brand sentiment and recall, too. Synthesizing this fresh data will help you refine the messages you use to market your services or products.

2 - Consider your value and values now and carry that into next year's plans. Remember that regardless of the season, consumers want guidance on how to live a better life. If what you're offering doesn't improve/streamline/amplify their day-to-day existence, then think twice about what you're trying to sell and how you're trying to sell it. And increasingly, Millennials and Gen Z want to buy products or connect with services provided by brands that align with their values. Share what you believe in and make your community feel seen, heard and understood.

3 - Play up nostalgia, but use a light touch. There's a fine line between evoking comfort of times gone by and sending someone down a rabbit hole of emotions that may leave them feeling like the best days are behind them.


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