As I sit in my Rubenstein common room updating my planner for the week, I read happy first day of fall scrawled in cursive on September 22. Having passed the fall equinox and under Lilly Pulitzer’s permission, I now feel validated in officially breaking out my oversized sweaters that have been in storage for way too long, sipping on pumpkin infused chai tea, and lighting my resident-hall-violating Montana Forest Fall candle. Salem, Honeypot Orchard, cider tasting next weekend anyone?? Clearly, I am a fall enthusiast and here is a short list explaining why:
- Pumpkin flavored cereal is the best-flavored cereal.
- The gourd family is one of the most underrated produces families. Fall gives pumpkins, squashes, and any other cucurbits the confidence they lack nine out of the twelve months of the year.
- Football is back…who doesn’t like football?
- Apple picking – yes, I recently braved the crowds of Honeypot orchard, waited in way too long of a line for delicious apple cider donuts, and paid $28 so that my friends and I could pick Farmer Honeypot’s apples for him. For the love of fall, it was well worth the time and money.
- Fall TV shows are back (I’m looking at you, Grey’s Anatomy).
- I live for “That Day” aka the first day it really feels like fall – not necessarily the fall equinox.
- My pencils are still relatively fresh from back to school shopping.
- Trader Joe’s becomes even more awesome in the fall time and I love it.
- Squash is now a cooking staple (see #2) – butternut squash soup, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, you name it.
- Though we most likely won’t be making our own, Jack-o-lanterns are everywhere and they make me happy.
- Speaking of Jack-o-Lanterns, pumpkin seeds are tasty and half the reason why I appreciate carving pumpkins.
- The smell of hot apple cider is one of the best smells in the world.
- The smell of cinnamon in hot apple cider is the best smell in the world.
- The leaves are changing and Boston College looks even more beautiful.
- Apple cider donuts rival any other flavor of donut (see #4).
- Try to name a bread that is tastier than pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting – you can’t.
- Though Halloween is not my favorite holiday, brainstorming awesome Halloween outfits is a fan favorite activity.
- After Halloween comes Thanksgiving – the best holiday of the year.
In case you aren’t convinced, check out this article for why fall is, in fact, the best season of the year.
Though not every aspect of fall is worthy of such elation (ahem, Black Friday, ahem), recognizing such an affinity for something as simple as a season of the year is extremely relevant to how businesses can market their products effectively. Given my aforementioned love for autumn and this undoubted love felt by many others, businesses should recognize this significant marketing opportunity and leverage its consumers’ widespread, deep-rooted celebration of all seasons, especially fall. If done well, brands can increase consumer traffic, drive revenue, enhance their brand image, and, overall, increase customer loyalty.
Starbucks is the MVP brand in the game of seasonal marketing, especially during the autumn months. It markets its brand through every social media platform, mainly Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. In doing so, it bolsters customer excitement over missed menu items, attracts new customers, and inspires its existing customer base to experiment with new menu item purchases. Its most popular fall menu item, the Pumpkin Spice Latte, epitomizes the successful seasonal product launch and marketing necessary to expand brand recognition and popularity. It was created in 2003 after the company noted the success of its holiday seasonal drinks. Why not expand to fall? Starbucks has effectively tied the widespread enjoyment for autumn to a single product, the PSL. It has created an intensely loyal following and culture of fans, possibly likened to that of the Grateful Dead. Today, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is so closely associated to the season of fall that it is almost impossible to describe autumn without mentioning this drink. Since its launch, the PSL has gained popularity year after year. Today it even has its own official Twitter account. Its bio defines itself as “THE OFFICIAL TWITTER FOR FALL’S OFFICIAL BEVERAGE.” Can you say customer loyalty?
For any dedicated drinkers dying for a stronger PSL connection, have no fear, it has a Facebook page too.
With Starbucks as the leader of seasonal marketing, other brands have attempted to recreate similar success. In an attempt to reach its primary consumer segments more effectively, Ugg has partnered with theSkimm, a popular email newsletter publisher. TheSkimm’s target audience is primarily targeted to young, urban women, a large segment of Ugg customer base. Ugg marketing its brand through a seasonal lens clearly associates its boots with fall. Its social media efforts, seen below, follow Starbucks initiative to align its products with seasons.
Regardless of your seasonal preference, your stance on the greatness or grossness of the PSL, and whether or not you appreciate furry, sheep-laced winter boots, it is evident that businesses that can align their brand or products with a season are more likely to enhance brand following and consumer loyalty than those who do not.