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REI Closes For Black Friday — Good Business??

REI in Pittsburgh before our ride down the GAP Trail towards Washington DC

REI’s Move To Stay Closed on Black Friday Has Real Benefits:

Did you see what REI announced today?  They are closing their 143 stores for Black Friday.  They are paying their employees to head outdoors — which is what REI is all about — getting outdoors.  But is it a good business move, to close on the “biggest” shopping day of the year?

Well, they first announced to their members.  REI is a co-op and you can join the co-op for a one time fee of $20.  My guess, most members applaud their decision and are eager to take their cue and head outside.

Next, they announced it to the press — the result — HUGE news coverage. They are the talk of the news cycle.  REI’s CEO was on the CBS Morning Show today.  That’s pretty good media coverage.

How much would an ad cost on CBS?  Did they just get more than that for Free?  For sure.  An interview is much more than an ad.

In addition to the morning interview on CBS, NBC had CEO footage and the company received additional coverage on the 6:00 News. I’m betting on the 11:00 news as well.

It’s a good move from a marketing perspective but it is also a good morale booster. It sends a positive message to the community —>>> GO OUTSIDE!! When you look at it they have succeeded in making an impression with their members, their staff, the community at large (all prospective customers).  Can it get better than that?

So, how can you generate PR like this? How can you do something that gets attention and is a goodwill move for your company? Look around.

Here at Compass Rose Consulting, I am preparing to announce our plan to offer our full online Marketing Center to non-profits and include one monthly Ask The Expert call, that will give them access to expert consulting via a conference call. The entire package is valued at over $4,000. Here is our plan:

1. Release a press release via our own distribution program that will get the news out to over 240 news outlets nationwide.

2. Create an application form –>> since the program will be limited to 50 non profits initially.

3. Create a video promotion both talking head style and white board style and distribute using our video distribution software. Rank the video on page one of Google….

4. Promote on our social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Periscope, plus a few more.

5. Host a radio show about the program on Blog Talk Radio: Leadership Navigator.

Now, you have a full marketing plan for this one program, laid out for you!! You see from REI the value of creating a good will program for your company.

Here are a few ideas:

1. Instead of rebranding — take the money allocated in the budget for it and use it to award a real world benefit to a client. For instance, a local bank decided to change its branding. They replaced all of their signage at each branch with new signs, replaced instore colored branding, replaced marketing pieces —>> website, brochures, giveaways (pens, pads of paper, key chains…etc.). If they had opted for a good will strategy they could have taken that money and saved the houses of perhaps 5 families that were losing their houses to foreclosure. Imagine the media.

2. Instead of paying to rename your company — reallocate the budget to offer marketing services to a startup company or two.

Each time, you can create media via press releases and news coverage that builds more good will towards your brand than your new colors or new name or new branding will ever do.

REI is a leader in outdoor equipment and quality service. Not a huge company in comparison to some, but making a major statement that is resonating across the country.

What statements can you make? What do you think of REI’s decision to close on Black Friday? Leave your comments below:

Donna Price is a speaker, trainer, author and business and marketing strategist. She founded her company, Compass Rose Consulting in 2003 after a 20+ year career in non-profit management and administration. Donna’s history is impressive. She goes beyond the world of work as an adventurer and brings bold living lessons to each of her presentations. Donna has a unique inspirational story – of cycling across the country and how you take wild ideas and make them happen. She is the author of several books including; Yes! Marketing Works, Launching Your Dreams and Employee Coaching. Donna Price works with business leaders, teams and individuals to get them moving, improve their bottom line results through effective strategy, leadership, marketing and communication.

Comments

    • Thanks Roy! I have been pondering the idea for the non profits for a while. My background is in non profit administration and I have been working with a couple of non profits more recently and see a BIG need. The REI story got me thinking more and moving on it! Thanks for the great feedback. Truly appreciate your visit!

  1. Hello, Donna

    Thanks for adding real value, and giving of your talents and efforts in working alongside Non-Profit organizations. A highly noble cause.

    I worked in a non-profit, charitable ministry where the culture was giving and serving, giving and serving – till I got burnt out, haha!

    To your continued efforts and passion,
    Sue

    • Thanks Sue! I too, worked in non profits and people are definitely stretched. The work of non profits is so important to our communities. I am excited to offer a program of value that can help each non profit to succeed more.

      Thanks for stopping by!! I appreciate your feedback.

  2. While we don’t have black Friday in South Africa (yet), this post has inspired me to try something similar with my Local Marketing Business. Offering a Free Marketing Service to non-profits or even low income group owned businesses is a great idea. I’ll probably promote this via Facebook, since this is an online platform I think most low income businesses use.

    • Hi Duane –

      Let me know how it goes. I’ve just added a brief application to my site and promoted it via social media and press releases. We’re excited here about it!! Good luck.

  3. Hi Donna,

    Very inspiring article, and I must say a clever move from REI.

    Would you say that this would also work for smaller businesses? Not sure since the media might not be interested too much in a small company as compared to a bigger one.

    • Hey Alex-

      Great question. I think a smaller company, with the right strategy can use media to gain traction. I don’t think that small businesses will give up Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, but I do believe that there are other things that they can do that are press worthy.

      Most businesses under utilize press releases. I work with companies to come up with a press release calendar. When you start looking at all the different things that a press release can be used for, you can do at least 2 press releases per month and often weekly!

      It takes some creativity and brain storming but Yes, I think its possible.

      Thanks
      Donna

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