Previously I’ve noted the importance of decking your brand’s halls for the holidays and establishing rituals as a means of building stronger connections with your customers and community. A great example of both is Nordstrom. Holiday decor in department stores creeps in earlier and earlier each year, often arriving before Halloween. Not at Nordstrom. For over 40 years, they’ve taken quite a different approach to the holiday season by openly declaring through simple signage that they won’t ‘deck their halls until the Friday after Thanksgiving.’ Nordstrom spokesperson Colin Johnson gave us some insight into this brand-driven strategy.

It can be hard to cut through the Black Friday/holiday clutter, yet Nordstrom has a pretty unique way of doing this. How did you decide to take this unconventional approach?
It’s just something we’ve always done – waiting to put up the holiday trim at our stores until after Thanksgiving. We’ve been doing this for at least 40 years or so. We recognize how this might seem unconventional particularly in light of the heavy promotions that have been going on these past few years, but for us this is simply a continuation of our long-standing tradition. We just viewed it as the right thing to do on behalf of our customers and employees to once again keep with the tradition this year. The feedback has been very favorable.

How did you get the word out on this? In-store signage and PR?
Again, we didn’t view this as anything new, so it wasn’t any sort of campaign or promotional push or anything of the sort. We simply did what we’ve always done this time of year: just after we took down our visuals for our Half-Yearly Sale for Women & Kids that happens in early November, we covered up our store windows as we do every year, and included a simple sign to let customers know when they’ll be seeing holiday decorations at our stores.

What have the results been like? How have you measured success?
Customers seem to appreciate and understand why we take this approach. How our customers respond to our overall product and service offering is how we measure success. We feel this approach has worked well for us.

Will Nordstrom continue this approach in coming holiday years?
We always evaluate how we can best support the customer in all areas of our business. We’ve been doing this as long as anyone here can remember, and we continue to believe in celebrating one holiday at a time.

Traditions are important in building a strong brand. The holidays provide a great opportunity to make your customers’ season bright by establishing consistent and memorable brand experiences.

What holiday traditions does your brand observe? What ideas do you have on how to observe this special time of year?

Photos via Flickr users Hans van de Bruggen and _rockinfree