Many know the day after Thanksgiving to be an occasion of long lines, big shopping bags and incredibly large discounts. It’s “Black Friday”! “Black Friday” is a day many consumers wait for all year long to get a jump on their Christmas shopping and to take advantage of marked-down items. However, more retail stores have started a new marketing trend this year.  Instead of waiting until the Friday after Thanksgiving to roll out the deals, many stores have begun their “Black Friday” discounts as early as October.  Giving stores access to the increased revenue that comes with Christmas shopping, this also appeals to those shoppers hoping to derail “last-minute shopping” headaches. A new survey from Accenture reveals that 45 percent of consumers have plans to go shopping in some capacity on Thanksgiving Day or evening. Nearly half of these people will likely go to stores between 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and 5 a.m. on Black Friday.

The Lowes Approach
Lowe’s is one of the stores capitalizing on an early Black Friday concept.  Many Lowe’s consumers purchase home improvement products as gifts, but many others take on mini-projects and quick fix-ups for their homes in anticipation of guests and holiday parties. Lowe’s used social media to roll out its Black Friday Sneak Peek.  The company’s website uploads new deals consumers can expect to see during the Black Friday sales, with the caveat while supplies lasts”.
There is a new development, however, this year — Forbes, ThinkProgress and Mental Floss have gained support from over twenty companies who say they refuse to open on Thanksgiving. This may seem like a poor business model given the enormity of Black Friday, but, for these companies its about not ruining Thanksgiving. By refusing to open for Thanksgiving, companies like Lowes, Home Depot and Costco subtly rebuke the “Black Thursday night” tycoons like Walmart. They probably lose out on revenue; but enhancing their brand with certain consumers while preserving the sanctity of Thanksgiving as a time for family to relax inside the warmth of their homes, rather than camping out for the best deals, is far more important, and beneficial to them.
With both the profiteers and the traditionalists making their stances known, it looks like this holiday season has been extended to celebrate the great deals of Black Thursday night and Friday all winter long.

Advertising and Authenticity
Advertising today is a completely different ballgame than it was 50, or even 10, years ago. With multitudes of ways for companies to reach their target audience, including digital advertising, social media or more traditional direct marketing, one thing is for sure — advertising can be totally successful, or it can be a big waste of time and money. Ads that work produce exceptional results, convincing a person to purchase a product or service almost immediately. Unfortunately, not all ads or marketing venues result in this kind of success, and many companies are faced with campaigns that perform poorly.
On the other side of things, consumers are coming forward to admit that they don’t trust current advertising. Thankfully, fixing this disconnect is possible, thanks to an always changing industry ready to take on the next big challenge. Have you ever seen an ad that just doesn’t resonate or make sense? What about an ad that seems too good to be true? If an ad is created to sell something–a product, service or an idea–it’s critical that the message be not only clear, but, also believable.

A survey done at the end of 2013 suggested that only 62percent of individuals worldwide trusted any ads they saw on television, with print ads falling just below 60percent. While these seem like reasonable numbers, they suggest that not only does over a third of the world population not trust traditional advertising, but, also that there is a large population not being reached by the right type of advertising. What’s the best possible solution?

It’s obvious that the decline of successful advertising stems from the lack of trust society has in today’s advertising, yet what’s more clear, is the need for personal interaction between advertisers and their future customers. With only 17 percent of respondents saying they believe companies take what they say seriously, it’s time for advertisers to reach their customers on a personal level. Lets look at some companies and evaluate why consumers might distrust them, and how to combat that distrust.
Today’s marketplace is flooded with news of companies trying to stay afloat and sustain market share. Then there are the billion-dollar companies like General Motors, Chrysler, CitiBank, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and AIG being rescued by government bailout plans using precious taxpayer dollars. Customers are now more hesitant than ever to put their faith in brands. It begs the question, how can customers trust brands when the relationship is one-sided? The answer is, they can’t. As such, authentic brands have emerged as the envy of corporate leaders worldwide.

Authentic brands are viewed by consumers as those that don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk.
If your company’s claim is to be environmentally friendly, for example, in order to stand out as an authentic brand, you can’t simply talk about being “green.” You need to actually live it, breathe it and truly believe in it. Think about Apple and its commitment to innovation or Whole Foods for its dedication to organic food alternatives.  Both of these companies have corporate mission statements that reflect their commitment to the brand’s mantra, and they take every opportunity to support that focus in all aspects of their business, from how they support their employees, to how they treat the customer. As a business leader, you want your company to have a face and a voice in a crowded marketplace. Authentic branding gives you that, because it shows integrity and clear intentions. It attracts repeat customers and the best talent to its employee ranks.

Walking the Walk for Authenticity:

  • As company executives and marketing professionals, take every opportunity to communicate commitment to your customers and to your staff.
  • Provide them with clear and direct messages about what your brand stands for and how you stand behind that mission.
  • Be direct and transparent to boost trust, loyalty and brand advocacy.
  • Take social responsibility seriously. Your customers do.
  • Be an integrity leader. Both current and potential customers will respect you for it.
  • Be passionate about your brand and what you stand for and your customers will be more passionate about it too.

Kleber & Associates is an Atlanta-based integrated marketing communications agency serving the home and building products industry for 25 years. Visit the Kleber & Associates website for the latest news and information about marketing for home and building products for consumers, architects, builders, remodelers, designers and manufacturers. Through our marketing, advertising, public relations and digital marketing expertise — we build better brands that build a better home.