One of the benefits of being IPA members is that we get exclusive previews to their latest insight; their last report on Black Friday was no exception.

I first caught glimpse of this a couple of weeks ago and was given the chance to comment on the research, which gauges consumer opinion towards one of the biggest shopping days of the year – last year shopper spending reached more than £3.3bn over the Black Friday weekend.

For brands and retailers Black Friday has meant shifting sales patterns given the close proximity to Christmas, margin erosion and changing consumer expectation of the brand dependent on if they choose to take part or not.

Could Black Friday signal the Black Death for your brand?

The survey found that just fewer than 40% of shoppers have more respect for those High Street brands that opt out of Black Friday. The 16 to 24 and 35 to 44 year olds were slightly less likely to agree that this was the case, but those aged 55 and over were more inclined to agree.

While a significant proportion, this shouldn’t be the catalyst for retailers to opt out, but it does give an important signal that brands must think carefully about how they translate the concept to meet their audience beliefs, needs and wants.

Implementing Black Friday with brand relevance

In the US Black Friday has a clear purpose, marking the Friday and Monday following Thanksgiving. But here, those dates mean nothing – they are normal working days, not linked to our holiday season, family occasion, feast or a religious day. As such, they don’t mean anything, we don’t understand them.

But this doesn’t stop retailers putting out all kinds of promotions to mark the occasion.

Heavy discounting that takes advantage of the hype without any big idea that translates consistently across channels or that resonates with brand values will not strengthen your proposition.

Successful campaigns are those that innovative but within the boundaries of their brand. This means coming up with promotional names, events and special opening hours that are executed consistently and with brand relevance.

There’s little doubt that Black Friday will get bigger and better as we learn more each year and make the concept our own. But we have to give it relevance and meaning to deliver a more sophisticated shopper experience and less of a battlefield. Perhaps it will become our new family shopping date or bank holiday.

If you are an IPA member you can read the Black Friday report in full here

If you’d like to talk to us about how we can support your next brand campaign please get in touch

Sue Benson, Managing Director, The Market Creative