Christmas is a coming… we all know this of course because the John Lewis ad is live and safe to say it’s created quite some chatter on (and off) line.  We’ve all been inundated with blogs about how people ‘feel’ about the advert, how it compares to last year, plenty of ‘our takes’ on the ad and even a parody from Goldie Looking Chain. So in the hope of sharing something of relevance I am going to look at what we can learn from the brand’s approach to marketing.

John Lewis man on the moon

Love it or hate it – what we can’t deny is that the brand has become synonymous with Christmas and is up there with Coca Cola.  Each year the anticipation in the lead up to the launch of the new ad continues to build. It seems that as a nation we eagerly await the ad’s arrival each year, much like Santa himself.  And on the 6 November when the ad went live this year we saw a flurry of comments ‘It’s here’, ‘It’s finally here’ as well as a number of * cringe * emojis – it was almost as if the nation breathed a sigh of relief, particularly as it seems the majority of us liked it.  Even if it didn’t bring you to tears (yes lot’s of people cried) in a good way and the John Lewis ad isn’t your thing, I’m sure you’d agree that the way this brand has developed its campaigns over the past few years is admirable to say the least.  One thing to note here is that it didn’t happen over night.


From humble beginnings in 2007, John Lewis has come a long way, upping its strategy to become one of the most iconic Christmas brands and Andy Street, the brand’s MD puts this down to focusing on ‘doing the right thing for the long term’. By seeing the bigger picture and investing in the business, not just through marketing but in terms of reinforcing services and reputation, increasing personalisation (not taking a mass market approach) and brand leveraging – John Lewis has gone from strength to strength and built a great deal of trust and brand loyalty over the years.


So what can we learn from John Lewis?

  • Understand your audience and make use of current trends – we are living in an experience and value-led society and John Lewis has very much leveraged this in the creation of emotive adverts and understanding their customers’ purchasing behaviours.
  • Embrace change – not only have their ads and content evolved over time but this brand has very much moved with the times in its approach and delivery of marketing activity and integration of new channels for communications.
  • Don’t underestimate customer service – customer service plays an important role in the customer experience on and offline and John Lewis take it very seriously. All of the team are ‘partners’ in the business, they are empowered to make decisions and frontline staff who have valuable insights from customers get involved in helping to improve things across the business.
  • Look at the bigger picture for long-term success – one key goal for John Lewis was building trust and they have invested in building the brand over time alongside activation of creative campaigns.
  • Do what you do well – be exceptional, as marketing will only take you so far – if you don’t have a great product or offer a shoddy service you may as well set fire to your marketing budget (or use it wisely to invest in getting your offering right).