Trending Thursday: REI Reaches Out to Their Target Audience to #OptOutside After Thursday Turkey

Bold Retail Move to Cancel Black Friday Could Prove Valuable to Target Audience

Trending-Thurs.RedWe often discuss the importance of understanding your small business’s target audience. Your target audience’s preferences play into business decisions, marketing campaigns and social media strategies. REI is a great example of a brand that has allowed audience preferences to mold each of these business elements.

The outdoor gear and clothing retailer recently announced its decision to #OptOutside for Black Friday. Against the trend of Black Friday frenzy, REI will close for both Thanksgiving and Black Friday. The move reflects the true, free spirit of its outdoor-enthusiast audience.

REI understands how to build loyalty among audience members. While the brand already has a strong following, a focus on outdoor, Black Friday fun will only strengthen this bond. In addition, consumers who shop the outdoor gear of competitors may identify with the campaign and adopt a new loyalty.

Before you assume the brand intends to ignore Black Friday marketing altogether, consider the social media value the campaign holds. Rather than tape a paper sign to the door with “Closed for the Holidays” scrawled in marker, the brand has carefully crafted the announcement.

Complete with its own hashtag (#OptOutside), REI’s strategy will encourage its target audience to not just spend time outdoors, but also share alternative Black Friday activities via social media. This will allow the campaign to stretch across platforms and reach the differing audience segments that use each platform.

The brilliant part about the marketing campaign is how much content will be user generated. This gives REI options as to how much design the brand wants to produce. Outside of the initial announcement and any posts the brand schedules for the day of, responsibility can be laid largely on the target audience’s shoulders. Because outdoor enthusiasts have a taste for testing the limits, there are sure to be some great visuals shared across social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

REI has also created a landing page for the #OptOutside invitation. The page includes a countdown that not only increases anticipation, but also directs consumer thoughts to alternative Black Friday plans. Top-notch photography and simple text combine to share REI’s decision as an extension of its brand story.

Rather than take a “Johnny Raincloud” approach and issue a stern scolding for the consumerism mindset, REI has issued its announcement much as one would an invitation to join a select club. The approach carefully sidesteps the heartstrings of shopaholics and instead plucks the chord of sentiment for those who value time outdoors and with family.

If you love the idea of creating a disruptive marketing campaign, the SJC team is fully equipped to help you determine your target audience’s preferences, outline a distribution strategy and help you develop a creative marketing strategy. Contact one of our team members to build the next chapter of your brand story today.

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