Sack Friday? Why Black Friday Is A Dying Holiday

Black Friday has been a staple in companies' marketing strategies for several years - until now.  Recently, a lot of brands have been rethinking their involvement in the profit-led holiday, and found ways to re-position their relationship with it. Why do this? The reason's threefold: planet, perceived brand value and profit.  

Below are 3 reasons Black Friday could be doing more harm than good for your brand.

It might be time for you to sack Black Friday, and here's why.

1) It’s damaging the planet 

Black Friday attempts to swell customers desire to purchase, but the environment pays the price too. Companies extract excess raw materials to sell us products that are likely to end up in landfills. This system has a massive ecological impact that's exacerbated by the fact that workers are often exploited in the process.

Black Friday is often used to shift old stock that hasn't sold. Brands take the opportunity to discount those items and get rid of them. At face value it seems like a good thing as it stops people from throwing products away; however, the truth is that holidays like Black Friday, and the concept and practice of discounting, encourages reckless production. It doesn't address the root problem of hyper-consumerism - it perpetuates it. Companies don't focus on making what they actually need, they overproduce thinking an arbitrary sale will solve things. 

There are examples of brands against this behaviour. Beauty brand Deciem will close its stores and also take down its website on Black Friday, as it did last year, for what it refers to as “a moment of nothingness”. The company said in a statement: “Black Friday no longer felt like a people or planet friendly event.”.

2) It's damaging your customers' perception of your brand

So...a brand tells it's customers that it's product/service will add value to them, and that the price of the product/service reflects that value. All good right? Sure, until discounting enters the chat. Discounting communicates to your customer that your product might not worth the price you said originally claimed.*

As a customer when I see an aggressive sale I cant help but think "Is your product not as valuable as you say it is?" "This is a big discount, are you robbing us blind for the other 364 days?"

It's likely that discounting goes beyond damaging perceived brand value. In an interview with Shopify, Chip Wilson (Lululemon's ex-CEO) stated that his philosophy is "every dollar you discount takes $10 off the market capitalization of [a] company."

Discounting devalues fiscally and socially.

*Note: There are ways to "discount" and retain a healthy brand image; we have some suggestions and ways to reframe discounting that still allows you to free up space to restock your warehouse. We’ll share this soon to spark some inspiration for the new year.

3) It’s damaging your profit, and your people

Customers put off purchases earlier in the year in anticipation of Black Friday. Less sales in the year compels companies to go even harder for Black Friday as many of them put more pressure on the sale overall. A vicious, sales shaped cycle. It's a huge pressure point that stresses out a brand's employees', and marketers dread the holiday.

On top of this,  many consumers accrue debt and regret on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This is the last thing a purpose-led brand should be looking to dump on its customers.

So, is it time for you to Sack Black Friday for good?

Even though the 2021 Black Friday vehicle is already in motion, the brakes are slowly being applied to the holiday in general. Its a holiday deeply entrenched in our economic culture, but waves of change are happening fast - its time for purpose-led brands to embrace and lead this change.

What ways can you reframe, or engage with the holiday in a way that will be good for the planet, your people and profit in 2022?

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