Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a huge PR opportunity for retailers – and B2B should pay attention
by Felix Lehane
These days, you’d have to be living in a hole to not have heard about Black Friday. And its online equivalent, Cyber Monday, is catching up fast. But while these sales days are designed with retail and marketing in mind they can provide an important PR opportunity for lots of businesses to get a foothold on positioning themselves as a voice in the media.
Although originally part of the Thanksgiving weekend, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are becoming as important in the UK as they are across the pond. These sales days are well covered in broadcast and print publications, in a media frenzy that touches on a variety of sectors, from retail to business and technology.
PR Stunts for Retailers
With the vast majority of retailers taking part in these sales days, it’s great to do something that stands out from the crowd. In recent years a variety of retailers have been looking to Cyber Monday as a date to heighten the PR impact of their offers and events. Amazon, for instance, chose Cyber Monday 2013 as the date to announce its Prime Air drone delivery system, effectively launching its new delivery service off the back of increased news fervour around online shopping.
The Nature Conservatory chose Cyber Monday in 2010 and 2011 to launch ‘Green Gift Monday’, offering eco-friendly gift ideas such as DIY presents, and also opened up a space for people to submit their own green gif ideas. Promoting consumer interaction, this offered an alternative to Cyber Monday to bring media attention to its own ecological message.
In fact, it can be useful to take a more alternative and even critical stance on the consumerism that Black Friday and Cyber Monday bring. Outdoor clothing retailer REI choose to opt out of Black Friday, giving its staff the day off to spend with their families and launching an #optout hashtag on Twitter. Seeing a PR opportunity to distinguish its brand from other competitors, the move was a huge success, growing its membership in 2015 its membership grew by 1 million.
Patagonia, another outdoor clothing brand with an environmentally-conscious outlook, launched an ad that urged its readers not to buy their jacket, calling attention to the overconsumption and waste that occurs in big sales periods like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and the effect this has on the environment. Although this may seem dangerous in sale terms, it had a positive effect on perception of the brand as a whole, firming its position as a socially conscious company that consumers can trust and feel good about spending their money with. In fact, they followed this up last year by participating in Black Friday, but donating all of its sales to environmental charities.
An opportunity for all
But Black Friday and Cyber Monday don’t only offer a media opportunity for retailers. If you’re not a retailer, but a B2B who works with retailers, tech or the production of anything sold by retailers, these days offer a chance to get your business’ voice out there.
The news is abuzz with stories on these sales days, varying in tone, from long recommendations of the best deals consumers can get their hands on, to long indictments of the rise of consumerism. As a business that works with retailers, or produces anything typically sold on these days, you’re bound to have your own position on the day.
If the businesses you’re selling to engage in Black Friday you are likely to have a position on it. If you are part of their supply chain, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are when it is under the most stress. If you help them with their customer service, the returns process after these large sales day will be huge. If you help with their marketing strategies, then you’ll surely have an opinion on whether they’re focusing too much, or too little, on these bumper sales days.
If you’ve got something interesting to say, and you can find the right journalists who will be interested in what you’re saying, then Black Friday and Cyber Monday can provide you with the perfect chance to position yourself in the media as a professional, reputable voice in your industry.