To succeed in public relations, you must be aware of what is happening in the outside world, and figure out how to use that to tell your story.
But while it’s important to be tuned into what’s happening in the world and get your name out there, it comes with a challenge: when everyone is jumping on the same bandwagon, what do you do to stand out?
Take Black Friday, for instance. Everyone knows what it is. Everyone knows when it’s coming. Everyone is doing something for it. How do you make your sale more appealing or more newsworthy than your competitors’? With so many voices, how do you cut through all the noise?
One option is to do the unexpected. A brand that has excelled at this, year after year, is Cards Against Humanity. The first year that Cards Against Humanity made the news with its Black Friday deal, they raised the price of their game $5. People still bought it.
This year, the Black Friday gambit was even more outlandish. For $100,000, Cards Against Humanity would dig a hole. The more money was donated, the deeper the hole would be. That’s it. Simple, and so ineffective. A colossal waste of money for a colossal hole – but perfectly aligned with the company’s brand.
And again, people participated. The company raised more than $100,000 for said hole. And got a write-up in Fortune, to boot.
Another way to get noticed is to do something a little more meaningful. On a consumerist holiday, that’s especially likely to appeal to people. Patagonia decided to donate 100% of its Black Friday proceeds to environmental causes – and people loved it. The company’s sale generated $10 million, all of which will go to charity. Though Patagonia may not be keeping the profits from this promotion, the sale brought in many first-time customers, so the company is likely to reap the benefits in the future. The Associated Press also wrote about this generous promotion, spreading the word of Patagonia’s goodwill even further.
Both Black Friday promotions were different, yet completely in line with the companies’ brands. They did an excellent job of connecting with their consumer base, standing out and getting their voices heard in a crowded environment.