Marketing Ecommerce Black Friday

Black Friday 2022: a shift from planet to people

By Alexandra Higgs | Senior strategist

Landor & Fitch


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November 3, 2022 | 5 min read

Black Friday is near. Alexandra Higgs of agency Landor & Fitch argues that it will look a little different this year, with smart brands giving new attention to cash-pressed consumers.

A 'sale' sign in a shop window

Will this year’s Black Friday reward a more sensitive approach to cash-strapped consumers? / Markus Spiske via Unsplash

Black Friday used to represent the worst of blind consumerism, with large crowds not always in the holiday spirit.

But the internet and a good dose of cynicism have transformed the shopping event into a prime opportunity for brands to instead showcase their brand purpose and progressive values.

Last year saw brands as diverse as Patagonia, Ikea and Dora Larsen opt for ‘Green Friday,’ the anti-Black Friday movement encouraging people to give back to the planet. Some brands such as REI opted out completely, closing stores and encouraging their team to get back to nature rather than shopping centers.

Shopping festivals during a cost of living crisis

This year, the cost of living crisis shines a different light on the occasion. 89% of consumers expect inflation to impact their holiday shopping, and research carried out by Landor & Fitch has found that 40% of UK shoppers believe Black Friday deals are not as good as retailers and the press make out.

With extra pressure to attract discretionary spending this year, brands will need to be more strategic with how they tackle the big sale on the last payday before Christmas. We predict that a shift from planet to people will be a differentiating factor. Everyone will be looking to save money, but what might drive brand choice are those who also use this moment to do good, such as by donating to a mental health charity, or matching food and clothing purchases to give to the vulnerable.

This has been reinforced by a Landor & Fitch study of 250 nationally-representative shoppers in the UK, showing that 29% believe that balancing efforts to help charities alongside low-price deals is the most important thing for brands to do in the run-up to the holiday. 28% said that if they could wave a magic wand, they would get all retailers to fund charities that help people instead.

Closing the purpose gap

Some brands are already doing this in exciting and innovative ways, including Toms, which is offsetting spending by donating to mental health resources. Heinz Beans’ ‘Beanz for Every Child Campaign’ matches purchases by gifting the equivalent to a family in need, created to ensure no child is too hungry to learn. Hubbub’s ‘Community Calling’ encourages customers to pass on their replaced tech to someone in need to support the 1.5 million people in the UK without access to the internet. Deciem’s Slowvember last year offered 25% off all month and calming in-store experiences to help reduce stress around the sale.

Each of these campaigns and initiatives is thoughtfully brand-led. They tap into brand purpose in a unique and meaningful way and can help close emerging ‘purpose gaps.’ That is, 94% of consumers said it is important that the companies they engage with have a strong purpose, while only 37% believe companies do have a clear and strong purpose. Brands can create a halo effect if the activity they run around Black Friday is distinctive and well-considered.

To do so, brands must walk the walk. Research shows that 85% of gen Z respondents undertake extensive research to confirm whether the company is doing what they say before they buy. With gen Z the most ethical and purpose-driven group of consumers yet, it’s high time to consider how your brand connects in an authentic way around occasions like Black Friday that not only represent your values and purpose, but have a lasting effect beyond the date itself.

Everyone will be looking to save money this year, but what will drive brand choice are those that use this moment to ‘do good’ and help people. Take a moment to reflect on the core values of your brand and develop an approach that is in tune with our economic times.

Marketing Ecommerce Black Friday

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