Black Friday is now well and truly entrenched in Britain. The American tradition that snuck in a few years ago just seems to be getting bigger and wilder — even in the midst of a pandemic.
But are the British public still giddy for it? Is it even appropriate given the current circumstances? And do brands that jump on the bandwagon risk getting lost in a tidal wave of endless black and red sale signs?
Research suggests that there’s been a drop in consumer interest this year; and although those in the group who remain interested in Black Friday will be spending more than ever, they’re more likely to be doing their Christmas shopping and not necessarily contributing to new purchases.
This might be a good thing if, because of your willingness to cut prices, someone chooses to buy your brand’s products ahead of their usual Christmas shopping spree. But, given the effects of lockdown and a surge in online demand, many brands have been running sales throughout the year anyway — for them, isn’t Black Friday just another profit-hitting discount…
What’s more, consumers are more switched on than they were in the early Black Friday era. The days when pre-Christmas sales and such large discounts were unheard of, compelling shoppers to buy everything and anything — bewitched by Black Friday Madness. Nowadays they know to use Black Friday to buy all those things they were going to buy anyway. Or to buy those things that are all too commonly bought in sales, like TVs and sound systems.
So what can the average brand do to turn Black Friday on its head and get noticed, without doing something desperately silly like giving everyone 99% off.
Here are three ideas.
Don’t do Black Friday.
Sure, advertise your brand with a nice Black Friday advert — make sure the price is on there too, and it’s big and bold, but don’t do any sale or any offer.
Some brands don’t go on sale. No one ever bought a Ferrari at 30% off, or a Rolex that was buy one get one free. When was the last time you saw Apple run a sale on their website?
If quality and class are part of your brand’s DNA, maybe you shouldn’t be sweating about Black Friday at all.
Make a difference.
Here’s one I’d love to see. A humble 5% discount. Only this 5% can go to causes that need it. Local charities, maybe a charity or movement that’s in line with your brand’s core beliefs.
We’ve all been through a tough year, some of us more than others, wouldn’t it be great to see brands pulling up their sleeves to do something small.
Even small things end up having a massive impact on what people think about brands. And what better way to be different and make a difference, than to be a voice of kindness in a storm of BUY BUY BUY.
Or you could do a really, really big thing. Ella’s Kitchen is turning Black Friday into Green Friday, donating profits to Trees for Life — similar to what Patagonia did a few years back, when they gave 100% of their Black Friday sales, $10 million, to grassroot environmental groups.
Make us laugh.
How about throwing in a free rubber chicken with every purchase? Or hosting a live streamed countdown, where a man literally counts down until the sale ends.
Let’s face it, Black Friday is pretty bonkers, if you’re a brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously, this is as great an opportunity as you’ll get to let us know.
We could all use a laugh or something to lift our spirits. And if you do something really fun, that’s in keeping with your brand idea, it’s bound to raise awareness and get people talking, and that might just be worth a lot more in the long run.
You might take a leaf out of Cards Against Humanity’s book, who ran an inverted sale, hiking their price up by $5 on Black Friday — a smirk-worthy joke that had the strange effect of increasing their sales.
There are countless other ways you can turn Black Friday on its head and use it to say something powerful about your brand.
Some might say you don’t even need a Black Friday to do so.
Written by Alex Hamilton.
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