Black Friday is arguably the biggest and busiest day in the retail calendar, with goods and service providers advertising their latest, limited time deals to entice online and physical shoppers in in the lead up to Christmas.

The amount of money Brits spend across the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend is staggering, with UK shoppers spending just short of £6 billion (£5,988,444,539) last year, with (£295.67) per head1.

Naturally, with a swathe of huge discounts and one-off deals in the offering, it becomes difficult to cut through the noise and have your brand stand out from the crowd of fierce competitors and so making sure your marketing and PR strategy is top notch is absolutely paramount.

But what exactly are the things you need to consider in PR when it comes to nailing Black Friday? Junior account manager Tom Alderson has taken a closer look at things and provided some eye-catching examples.

Prepare well in advance

Everyone knows months in advance when Black Friday is each year and so getting a clear idea of the offers ahead of time is crucial to any successful PR activity. Quickly establish what exclusivity a brand has as well as any unique selling points and establish clear messaging to put out in the public domain.

A lot of the time, Black Friday shoppers have already decided on a budget they are willing to spend, so are more likely to be drawn into quality ad hoc offers, so using messaging to highlight the uniqueness of a deal, as well as highlighting potential scarcity of deals will draw attention.

Forward planning and understanding key messages and any company’s stance ahead of Black Friday is applicable for huge corporate giants and any SMEs looking to make the most of such a congested day of sales.

Go above and beyond

If you start your campaign early, you can whet the appetite of consumers. Teasing your target audience by drip feeding details of deals in the weeks leading up to the weekend itself can be a useful tactic to generate hype around the brand, which can result in sales.

An example of this in practice was Apple’s cliffhanger campaign2. The tech giant launched an extensive visual email led campaign with clever copywriting, building the suspense and anticipation well ahead of the event with an initial email, before send a follow up with details of their offers weeks later.

However, one of Apple’s main draws was their Apple Shopping Event, which ran for three days prior to the cyber weekend, drawing consumers to load up on their products for a longer period of time. This type of strategy is adopted by a number of different businesses, who use Black Friday as the starting or finishing point to extensive PR and deals activity.

Give something back

Obviously, the primary objective is to increase brand awareness which will ultimately lead to more sales or consumer engagement, but this doesn’t necessarily have to completely product focused.

Traditionally shoppers are competing to net the best deals before they sell out on Black Friday, but if a brand makes conscious efforts to support causes outside lining their own pockets, this goes a long way to getting positive attention and builds a healthy reputation.

An example of this in 2020 was Ikea’s aptly named #BuyBackFriday campaign3, which they launched in the style of an engaging short video and across social media to offer discounts to shoppers whilst also appealing to the hugely topical environmental conversation.

The campaign ran in 27 different countries for a week and gave previous Ikea customers the option to return any old items to either be resold of recycled in return for a voucher for up to half price of the original value of the item.

This has huge appeal to all demographics, with the conversation around being environmentally friendly and recycling hugely prevalent, and this activity was well received in the public domain.

Such a clever approach allows big companies to cut through the noise but smaller enterprises, if done right and communicated in the right way, will really help establish their brand as one with appealing core values and will generate consumer trust and hype that will last long after the Black Friday event has finished.

Get creative

Aside from outlining your strategy and messaging, visually creative campaigns can be extremely effective and maximising appeal, as research suggests that consumers retain 65% of information if it is paired with relevant imagery.4

Whether it’s across social media, as an additional asset to a press release or as part of an email campaign, eye catching imagery can make a real splash when it comes to drawing eyeballs to a brand’s Black Friday offers.

This was done brilliantly by ASOS, who produced a series of visual adverts in the style of a comic book strip5 to reveal their exclusive deals across the cyber weekend.

Such an approach is simple and can be done at low cost with the right creative support, making it an accessible option for businesses of all scales.

The possibilities of PR support around Black Friday activity for brands are huge, with plenty of scope to get creative in your story telling at a busy, but exciting time of the year.

For more advice on planning your perfect Black Friday campaign, check out our advice for delivering a winning campaign.

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Abigail