Solutions: Creating a Valuable Brand
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A lot can be said about a brand based on how it handles Black Friday. For example, let’s take a look at REI, the American outdoor retailer. Not long ago they announced they are closing all stores on Black Friday and paying employees to go outside. The campaign, “#OptOutside,” encourages shoppers to do the same and to share their outdoor activities in a gallery on its website.
Devaluing your Brand?
In comparison, Walmart, Best Buy, and Target are planning on opening brick and mortar locations from the evening of Thanksgiving Day, closing around midnight, and then reopening again on Black Friday as early as 6 am.
You can almost smell the desperation. Once again, retailers are trying to one-up one another with lower prices and longer store hours. By doing whatever it takes to get their share of the holiday dollar, these retailers are devaluing their brands. They are positioning their brands on appeals that are unownable and unsustainable.
The following retailers are not establishing brand demand; they are simply running great sale campaigns.
Brand Purpose and Values
REI is not just closed on Thanksgiving, it's staying closed on Black Friday, arguably one of the biggest shopping days of the year. It's also paying workers to take the day off, and inviting customers to stay out of stores, too. It's a bold campaign that speaks volumes about the REI brand.
REI is putting its brand purpose and values at the center of its business and operations. #OptOutside pronounces value for REI customers by making its values clear and inviting others who share those values to be part of the brand community.
This is what great brands ultimately accomplish. They start brand-building from the inside, meaning they cultivate a strong brand-led culture inside their organizations. It makes little sense for a company to try to engage its customers with values that aren't embraced by its employees -- the lack of authenticity and integrity will certainly show through.
While REI's decision to close on Black Friday may be costly in the short-term, due to the loss of sales, it will almost certainly pay off by building great value for the brand in the long run.