Tia Hall-Davis

Black Friday: Why brands need to jump off the CSR bandwagon and onto the GDPR one

Tia Hall-Davis
Black Friday: Why brands need to jump off the CSR bandwagon and onto the GDPR one

Whilst Black Friday sales may have doubled over the last few years, many brands have started using a stand against it as a way to stand out.

Corporate social responsibility is important for every brand and it has moved into the limelight with the growing trend of ‘brand purpose’ in recent years. Promoting a brands’ CSR is savvy marketing and certainly a smart way of boosting loyalty for some customers. What’s more, as global brands are often seen as ‘big, bad, corporations’, a large proportion believe that a company is only ‘in the good books’ if they are socially responsible. It puts pressure on brands to do more than just recycle, and to be vocal about their CSR policies, not even to gain extra customers and make more sales, but just to not be written off.

With that in mind, on Black Friday in 2015 Patagonia donated all of their profits (a whopping 10 million dollars) to small environmental charities, and in 2012 they asked customers to bring in used clothing and swap that for new items. Fat Face donated 10% of their sales of Black Friday to charity. A smaller gesture, but with the same goal in mind.

Does this make me buy their brand over another brand? Probably not. And looking at the statistics, Patagonia only had a small uplift in the amount of mentions and shares on social media on Black Friday last year. Lush’s social media didn’t seem to have much of an impact either. The Error 404 bath bomb had a massive peak in their engagement, however Lush itself, without any mentions of Black Friday or their corporate responsibility was higher and actually peaked on Christmas Day. Fat Face’s campaign didn't show a significant impact during Black Friday at all.

So, if brands want to avoid the mass hysteria of rock bottom prices and deals deals deals, this year it’s the absolute ideal time to use it re-engage customers to opt in ahead of the new GDPR legislation next May. It’s quite shocking but 50% of businesses are still unprepared for GDPR. If businesses take no action, they could be left with no single customer they are able contact (without incurring a significantly hefty fine).

According to our very own research here at RAPP, 70% of customers say no company has ever provided them with real value exchange to give their details. Signing up to a newsletter isn’t seen as value. Thinking about Black Friday, a better value exchange won’t come around for a while. From sneak peaks, to extra discounts or even special offers. Why not use these sales as value exchange for all the details you need, and collected in a way that you can still use your data come May 2018.

So unless you want to have the moral high ground, or sleep better at night, I would say that brands need to think again about whether a CSR push worth it on Black Friday and whether it’s actually a far better opportunity to gain meaningful data that is GDPR compliant.

Charlotte Schreurs, Account Manager, RAPP UK