Black Friday 2021 has just been and gone, and we’re still though it didn’t break 2020’s record for online spending, it came close. Among all the discounts however, there were plenty of brands who chose to do something a bit different. We’ve already looked at some of the most interesting campaigns we saw over this period [INSERT LINK TO OTHER BLOG] but we wanted to look at those who went beyond the discounts and used this period to raise awareness or money for a worthwhile cause.
We loved looking back at Black Friday 2020 to see the brands who decided that Black Friday wasn’t all about discounts, so we decided to refresh it with a few campaigns from this year, while they are hot off the press. So here are some of our favorite examples. Have we missed anything? Let us know on Twitter or LinkedIn!
One of the criticisms of Black Friday is that it promotes a culture of buying things just for the sake of buying things, rather than buying things that we actually need. Brands like Pretty Little Thing were essentially giving things away for next-to-nothing which attracted criticism for fueling this overproduction and overconsumption.
Colourful Standard was one of the brands that struck against this trend by highlighting some of the environmental costs of garment production. By ignoring the temptation to include discounts, Colourful Standard instead takes the opportunity to promote its brand values – specifically “offering high-quality and long-lasting products at a fair price, all year round.”
Another fashion brand fighting the need for overconsumption is Lavenham. But this is a different approach: as all of Lavenham’s clothes are built with longevity and practicality in mind, instead of offering a discount this Black Friday, Lavenham highlighted its repair service. Keeping items going for longer and saving them from being thrown away is a worthwhile cause, and this approach also highlights just how much quality matters to Lavenham.
Continuing the theme of extending the life of clothes, Rapanui launched its Take Back Friday campaign. Pointing out that 80% of purchases end up in landfills after a single use or less, Rapanui instead offers consumers the chance to send their worn-out clothes back where they can be repurposed into new awesome products. This kind of circular model allows clothes to live a life beyond their expected lifespan.
As a butcher focused on helping people eat better meat, Farmison knows all about the importance of preserving the natural environment to ensure sustainability. As such, instead of offering Black Friday discounts, Farmison will match a £10 donation that its customers make to wildflower meadows in the Yorkshire Dales, one of the UK’s National parks. This will provide a carbon store and preserve the habitat for native species, such as bees, which are so important to agriculture.
Surfing and activewear brand Finisterre regularly do something different for Black Friday. This year, Finisterre is switching to Blue Friday and raising awareness and money to help people who face barriers to fully enjoying spending time in the sea. Working with a partner organization, the team there will adapt wetsuits to help people with accessibility issues so everyone can enjoy the sea.
ME+EM – Donating not discounting
We’ve covered ME+EM before, but once again the brand is using this time as an opportunity to raise money for the Prince’s Trust, a very worthwhile UK-based charity. This simple letter from the founder is a nice sober touch and one which complements their decision to opt out of Black Friday entirely.
Some brands feel able to combine the discounts associated with Black Friday while also doing something worthwhile for the wider world. Bedfolk is a home furnishings brand that focuses on using natural ingredients for its linen and bedding. This year, they joined in on the Green Friday movement by planting a tree for every order over £99, but combined it with a 15% discount as well. Given some of the eye-watering discounts on offer this weekend, 15% is quite a modest one and fits well with an aspirational brand that wants to assure its customers of the quality of its products.
Black Friday is not for everyone. For some brands it works with their business model, for others it is the direct antithesis of it. We hope these examples were thought-provoking, especially if you are considering different way to do things for next Black Friday, or discounting in general. Even if you are offering big discounts, could you share some of those discounts with a charity partner, or otherwise raise awareness for a good cause, as some brands do with Giving Tuesday?
Even if these options aren’t viable for your brand, these examples demonstrate that you don’t have to race to the bottom on discounts along with your fellow retailers to make an impact, and there are other options available to you.
Now that Black Friday is over, hopefully you’ve acquired loads of new customers. But what should you be doing with them? We’ve put together a post-Black Friday checklist to make sure you are giving your new customers the best possible experience so you can retain them into the new year and beyond!