The holidays don’t officially start until Neiman Marcus launches its big winter holiday campaign.
For many customers, that sums up their expectations surrounding Neiman Marcus’s annual campaign, said the company’s chief brand officer, Nabil Aliffi. It’s the biggest moment of the year for Aliffi and his team, who started planning this year’s iteration in the spring. The campaign, announced and launched on Wednesday, continues Aliffi’s strategy of combining touchstones from the retailer’s long history — like the famous Fantasy Gifts lineup — with new brands, influencers and ideas.
Called Neiman’s Express, the campaign takes the form of a familiar winter sight: the holiday train, as popularized in the cultural imagination by films like “The Polar Express“. Featured across the campaign 140 different brands, such as Lacoste and Koltson, as well as influencers like supermodel Jessica Stam. The campaign is running across in-store displays, all of Neiman’s social media accounts, the website, in emails and in the Neiman Marcus app which was updated to reflect the new campaign.
Stam has appeared in Neiman Marcus campaigns for more than 10 years and serves as one of the ways the campaign hearkens back to elements from Neiman’s past. But at the same time, Aliffi said he wants this and future campaigns to continue to incorporate new ideas.
“The fall campaign landed exactly where we wanted it to, in the ratio of old to new,” Aliffi said. “Being the first campaign under our new strategy, we wanted it to be comfortable for our long-time customers. But for holiday and going forward, you’ll see us inching toward more modern touches and new things.”
Aliffi called out emerging designer brands like Christopher John Rogers and Gaurav Gupta, both of whom are featured heavily in the new holiday campaign, as good examples of the kind of newness he wants to bring to future Neiman Marcus campaigns. He added that balancing the splashy top-of-funnel moments like holiday campaigns with everyday marketing on social platforms remains an effective strategy for his team.
Neiman has in recent months been putting more of its focus on these high-end designer brands as the affluent customers who buy them are the most loyal contingent in the retailer’s audience. Just 2% of Neiman Marcus customers drive around 40% of the company’s volume. There’s also a 90% retention rate among the top 2%.
While the campaign is launching on Wednesday, Aliffi said more Neiman Marcus holiday content, including the famous Fantasy Gifts guide, will be introduced in the weeks between now and the end of the year. Ryan Ross, president of Neiman Marcus, said the gifting campaign remains a major part of the company’s holiday strategy.
“Every gift is carefully curated, not only for their beauty and craftsmanship but also for their ability to create unforgettable moments,” Ross said. “Our holiday offerings are a testament to our legacy as the ultimate fashion and gifting destination and support our growth strategy.”