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How to Consciously Approach Black Friday

How to Consciously Approach Black Friday

Fab Giovanetti

Black Friday is coming up next week. Let’s be honest, it can be a great way to grow awareness around your brand if you know how to use it wisely. With growing awareness of consumerism and its environmental impact, you need to be mindful of how to drive traffic and conversions.

Yet, in every challenge, you can find a new, hidden opportunity. Black Friday is still an event of incredible impact — over the past few years, consumers spent $7.4 billion online.

Now more than ever, it’s key to think about how you can use Black Friday for your brand. If you are wondering when you should start looking at your Black Friday campaign, this is your reminder to get inspired by how brands have been reinventing a trend.

Encourage sales with a purpose

As I mentioned in my introduction, your audience is more mindful than ever. How can you combine a sale with a great message you can share about your brand? Especially when tying your campaign with social media, in addition to conversion metrics, you might also want to set goals for brand awareness.

You could look to partner with a local charity and it’s donating money from each sale, or create a joint sale with a fellow business that shares your values.

Just Eat UK partners with a brand
Credits: Facebook UK

In 2019, Just Eat partnered with the charity FoodCycle this Black Friday, a company that serves meals from unwanted food across the UK, preventing waste. For every Just Eat order made on Black Friday, the company also donated 50p to the charity and ultimately raised over £250,000.

As another great example, in 2011, Patagonia’s Don’t Buy This Jacket campaign raised awareness about consumerism and has evolved and continued ever since, so much so that in 2016 they pledged to donate all of their Black Friday sales to organisations in local communities.

Patagonia’s post: “Today we’re donating 100% of sales to grassroots environmental groups”

What is the key goal of your Black Friday campaign? Can you write down the 3 main outcomes, including conversions, brand awareness, and engagement?

Find your best media and focus your attention on it

From Instagram shoppable feeds and Instagram Live product recommendations to flash email campaigns, there are quite a few ways to convert your customers.

If you choose a medium like Instagram, you can engage with your audience on a variety of levels including stickers in stories (small business stickers anyone?) or even your link in bio. Similarly, you could focus on Idea Pins, shoppable Pins, and even ads for your Black Friday campaign. I would recommend choosing your main medium and optimising your campaign for it, in order to create the right content and format.

In 2019, Chick-fil-A launched a charitable campaign titled Together Time, with a video centring around helping families give the gift of time for Black Friday and Christmas time, drawing upon the emotional impact of their customers.

By only using one medium and one message, the brand reached the masses in an effective way. Are you looking for more channels? Each channel you choose — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube — should have a slightly different strategy and approach, because of how your audience responds and how each platform functions.

As part of choosing your media, it’s also important to identify the target audience for your offer.

Don’t rush your Black Friday plans

On the one hand, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are one-day events. On the other hand, a lot of businesses now run promotions throughout the whole month of November.

Depending on the type of message you are sharing, the longer your campaign runs for the harder it can be to keep momentum. In order to help you with deciding on a timeline, build a simple calendar that goes back from the date, and highlights the different ways you are looking to tease your audience.

Are you running weekly giveaways? Daily product spotlights? This will help to build a calendar.

The exception that confirms the rule comes from Deciem, which since 2015 encouraged their community to shop slow and remove the time pressure. They publicised that for the entire month of November, every product was on sale.

Inside Deciem, an employee sweeps the floor, and an orange sign that says “Please shop slowly; 23% off everything”

Your campaign should reflect your overall goals and message. When in doubt, try to plan your campaign around the 14-day mark. If you are partnering with others, do not forget their timeline.

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Less is more

When creating a campaign, marketers have a tendency to over-compensate. It’s always better to have less content that’s really engaging than more content that’s poorly executed. Write down as many ideas as you can, but be realistic about the timeframe you’ll need to execute your campaign and create assets.

When thinking about your content, remind yourself of what products or services will you be focused on. After that, highlight the best performing content in tour accounts to create a strategy that focuses on the right assets.

Whether you are looking at the video, animations, graphics, or even photography of products, you’ll need to make sure you create a full list of assets needed ahead of the campaign. Yet, sometimes you may have to think outside of the box. A great example comes from MeUndies’s campaign in 2016 on Facebook Live.

MeUndies ad of a woman laying on a couch with a laptop, with an arm outstretched to block her face. “Can’t talk, gotta shop.”
Credits: Instagram

The brand held a two-hour Facebook Live event for Black Friday, something unheard of at the time. The Live event attracted 13,300 viewers. Those users tallied 5,998 engagements. The Facebook Live audience opened their wallets. Users converted at a rate of 25%, 13 times the average conversion rate for MeUndies on Facebook.

Collaborate for small business Saturday

Want to go against the whole idea of Black Friday? Embrace Small Business Saturday instead and encourage your audience to support you and collaborate with fellow small businesses (there are a few hashtags including SmallBizSat on social you can use to amplify your message).

In its ninth year in the UK, the campaign has grown significantly each year with a record £1.1 billion spent with small businesses on Small Business Saturday in 2020, and 15.4 million people choosing to shop small.

What type of content can you tap into to harness your campaign with something truly unique?

In 2020 more than ever, your audience is looking for ways to enrich their lives and the lives of others.

Over to you. How are you going to make a difference this Black Friday? How are you going to stand out from the crowd?  Whether you fully moved your business online, launching a new product, or are looking to shift old stock, Black Friday and Cyber Monday can boost sales when used mindfully.