"REI will be closed on Black Friday, and pay its 12,000 employees not to work that day",
no doubt it's a provocative press note that will generate a lot of positive buzz. Let's talk about the brilliant idea behind it:
- It's a Big communication idea that demonstrates a purpose beyond the brand but from the whole company.
- It takes a disruptive angle to standout in the category precisely by breaking the behavioral habit of the whole retail category in that big sales day. That path, helps to build a bridge that connects with several cultural tensions (less vs more consumerism, connected life vs unplugged mindful life,....) to leverage an aspirational company attitude for people to identify with.
- Reinforces a positive relationship and morale with the employees (not sure about the rest of stakeholders lol...)
- Most importantly and less common, this approach shows a company that embraces also a long term brand building not just short term sales. As REI prioritizes the demonstration of a POV and its brand purpose over the financial loss of closing all the stores in Black Friday, that's a real sacrifice where a CEO had the guts to be brave, well done dude. (it made me think of Patagonia with "Don't buy this jacket".
- On top of all said the execution is really funny
Good luck to REI, hopefully this bravery consumers reward REI with a well deserved increased of anticipated sales.
"I think that the good and the great are only separated by the willingness to sacrifice" Kareem Abdul- Jabbar