Black Friday has become a ubiquitous, global event in the brand world, as shoppers await bargains, promotions and “never to be seen again” offers. It’s been the busiest shopping day in the US since 2005 and the phenomenon has since spread to other countries around the world, from New Zealand to Brazil.
The last decade has seen this escalate, with online retailers getting involved. And this has further been exacerbated by the events of 2020, as lockdowns and COVID-19 restricted mass gatherings in traditional retail outlets.
But for many brands, Black Friday does come with its own set of risks. And to compete, brands have been forced to start offers weeks before the day itself, which has an impact on both profits and existing customer relationships.
At ProQuo AI, we measure the relationships between brands and consumers, using 16 factors, which we refer to as the 16 Drivers of Relationships. Each of these Drivers is an indicator of how your brand is performing, what your brand’s strengths may be and where there are opportunities to improve, in comparison to your competitors, but also to Category Expectations.
When it comes to Black Friday, brands might start to see a decline in Aspiration – one of our 16 Drivers of Relationships - as consumers begin to look for bargains. An exclusive brand is at risk of being seen as “cheap” at this time of year, or too easy to purchase. And this could have a long-lasting effect on the brand, particularly impacting those with longer buying cycles.
Differentiation may also suffer a decline during this period, as brands compete on price rather than what makes them stand out from the crowd.
Integrity (the extent to which people feel you do the right thing) and Consistency (whether your brand is felt to be the same across all touch points) might be impacted, especially if your brand is seen to be making drastic changes or offering things that are incongruent with its existing identity and core proposition.
So, what can you do to mitigate these effects on your brand, as well as taking advantage of Black Friday to improve people’s relationship with your brand?
1) Make your campaign memorable
First off, you are going to need to stand out – with so many offers and campaigns running at the same time, you need to Differentiate your brand from the crowd. Clever, stand-out content with an interesting proposition is more likely to get attention and ultimately drive more sales than the usual “Discount! Discount!” messaging. People are also more aware of offers and special deals at this time, so offering the same deals as you did earlier in the year might negatively impact your Integrity.
2) Surprise and delight
With everyone expecting discounts, is there something you can offer that breaks the mold? What is the incentive or additional reward customers can expect when buying this Black Friday? This has to be something that will get feet through the door or more clicks online. This opportunity to create a better Connection with your customers is best used in conjunction with an effective communication plan to ensure the offer is delivered to the right audience at the right time.
There is also an opportunity to do something inventive with a limited pack, offering or festive product, that goes beyond improving Innovation, but also gives you a chance to show how understanding you are as a brand of people’s needs. One-off gifts, banded packs and co-branded collaborations are likely to improve overall appeal, while extending the Aspiration to first-time users of the brand.
3) Limit the offer
By making it scarce, there will be a greater sense of urgency and FOMO. An added benefit of taking this approach is that people see this as a once-off event, allowing your brand to remain Consistent and not damaging people’s inclination to repeat purchase.
By making it exclusive to loyal customers or a specific target segment, you will increase the Popularity of your brand as well as allowing you to manage what can sometimes be a chaotic day with an influx of orders that cannot be fulfilled.
4) Don’t veer from your brand’s DNA
Finally, ensure the hype doesn’t force your brand to act out of character. Act with Integrity and in a way that is Consistent with your brand’s existing identity. A poorly executed campaign can have lasting effects on a brand and how people relate to it.
Think carefully about the marketing actions you are taking, aiming to minimize the negative impact on your brand, while still allowing you to show off the Innovative and Attractive aspects of your personality. The aim is to grow volume sales with existing users or appeal to non-users of your brand, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of your core following. Remember to make the entire experience slick and easy – the more challenges or hurdles there are, the more likely people are to look for the next Black Friday special.
Black Friday gives brands the opportunity to grow revenues and maximize sales before the end of the year.
There are however risks involved that may have a lasting effect on how people relate to the brand. Declines in Aspiration, Integrity and Attraction will end up making a brand look cheap and users of the brand could start to expect special discounts to encourage purchase in the future.
With a few tweaks to your Black Friday campaign, you can increase profits without denting your existing reputation and relationships - opening yourself up to more people and boosting revenues for the year to come.
And if you want to learn more about our 16 Drivers of Relationships, click here.