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Do Black Lives Matter on Black Friday?




Why are we still accepting Black Friday in our CX?


As marketers, consumers, and innovators why are we still accepting ‘Black Friday’ in our customer experience? I’m clearly annoyed at the name of this day not only because culturally speaking it’s just another example of exploitation and the systematic association of deep discounting with Blackness, but also because we can do better.


Some may think that I’m being too socially conscious (to which I reply, can you be too socially conscious?) and that it’s not harming anyone like a genuinely derogatory racial slur that may have ill-intent underlying it. Yet, in my DEI work with clients, emotional intelligence & empathy are missing from the culture when other people can draw the line that separates playful intent from hurtful intent. More specifically, when other people can draw that line, it tends to move, when it’s convenient for them.  So if that’s an issue in corporate cultures, why are we still accepting it in mainstream culture?🤔🤔🤨🤨🤦🏾‍♂️🤦🏾‍♂️


In this post, I would like to make an argument for marketers, consumers, and innovators to stop settling for this moniker as low-hanging fruit without considering the implications.







I honestly don’t think I would have written this if ‘Black Friday’ was about Black Excellence and we didn’t have people clamoring in stores and malls looking for deals, which is one of my worst nightmares…not the cost-saving part the other part😬😬 As an entrepreneur, I've created 'Black Friday' deals for my courses and other products to drive revenue.


If Black Friday was another opportunity to embrace Black culture and contributions in a unifying manner and not exploitative, I would certainly get behind it and support it any way I could but it’s not. The idea that a narrative can become embedded into American culture is a marketer's dream.  I’ve spoken to several marketers and their main objective is to raise brand awareness in unique, emotional, and behavior-inducing ways.  Consequently, I would challenge marketers to change the narrative around Black Friday and your brand.


Similarly, consumers have enough information in the palm of their hands to make very savvy, strategic purchase decisions about every purchase they make.  I would challenge consumers to not buy into the Black Friday narrative.  You’re probably already supporting black businesses in your community and region, just continue to do that or even identify a new minority supplier or service provider of color (that meets your needs) and spend with them instead of the big brands that put more money into marketing this time of year than they do in improving the quality of products or services. Use this as an opportunity to elevate and unite as opposed to just consuming.


For innovators, this is an excellent opportunity to disrupt through marketing and/or your offerings. I already touched on the marketing side so let me now focus on innovative products & services. As I previously mentioned, I don’t have an issue with the discounting, it’s the name associated with the discounting that has got me aggravated. (think A Problem with Apu”)


This not only presents an opportunity to rebrand this discount day but also develop new tools and methods by which the customer experience can be enhanced. Here are just a few that make sense:

  • Portal for consumers to get discounts to special editions of products or services paying tribute to black culture & contributions

  • Tools for big brands to re-brand “Black Friday”; including marketing tech products like landing page templates and automation that shifts the narrative to a new branding approach

  • A marketplace of minority service providers, makers, and creators of consumer packaged goods


The truth is this is only is not a really hard problem to fix. Black Friday came about by retailers deciding to change the negative connotation around the phrase and in turn uplift the customer experience during this season. This would be no different, let's bring joy and excitement to the customer experience but not a the expense of our neighbors. We can do better.



 


Far be it from me to call out an issue without also presenting solutions. So here are some alternatives for Black Friday:





 

 

   



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