Advertisers could do worse than partner with magazines, websites and radio stations this Christmas, says Krissie Ford of Bauer Media.

The Christmas advertising battle illustrates one of the best ways of gaining share of voice and the coveted prize of winning a place in the hearts and minds of the great British consumer.

From last year’s Christmas ads it’s clear to see that advertising can influence popular culture with the John Lewis Christmas ad soundtrack  reaching number one in the charts that month. These ads have created a great momentum around the December TV breaks, so much that last year heat magazine referred to ‘Christmas ads’ as one of their talking points of the week in 2013.

But what should advertisers be doing to get their Christmas campaign right this year?

Waitrose have already invited the public to sing on their Christmas advert  and Sainsbury’s have revealed they’ll feature the WW1 ‘truce’ match in theirs. John Lewis has announced it will feature an element of popular culture in this year’s advert, with Gogglebox forming part of the campaign. This demonstrates John Lewis harnessing the power of popular culture, following the ‘Bear and the Hare’ advert shown on Gogglebox last year.

The priority should be to ensure that retailers are connecting with audiences on all levels. Media brands – such as magazines, websites and radio stations - facilitate conversations, shape opinion and influence popular culture. Retailers could use media brands to provide the link between the in store and online experience allowing consumers to have a seamless purchase journey across a number of different platforms.

Retailers could also build partnerships with media brands using themes like fashion, homes and music to create tactical events around key purchasing times. Infamous shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday can also be enhanced with supporting commentary from credible and respected brands.

Matalan’s partnership with Closer allowed the retailer to appeal to the masses by developing fashion credentials, putting them at the heart of Closer’s fashion content. The campaign was a huge success, delivering a 46% increase in online sales and increasing the average visitor spend by 7% year on year.

By partnering with a media brand, retailers can maximise messaging through the value of the relationship that a reader, listener, or viewer has with that brand. They can leverage creative sales messaging and build excitement, not panic, for Christmas shopping.

If retailers want to take it to the next level when understanding their consumers, there are tools that media owners offer to show the emotional triggers that shape and influence decisions and opinions of consumers. They can tell the life they live, the daily challenges they face and most importantly for retailers, how they wish to be served and what is entertaining and compelling. This allows retailers to create meaningful dialogue and identify additional ways to engage with audiences that makes messaging more relevant and authentic.

Krissie Ford is the Head of client development at Bauer Media