Later this week millions of Americans will be emerging from their Thanksgiving food comas and licking their lips in anticipation of the deals on Black Friday, and its cousin Cyber Monday. Several brands (like Amazon) are starting the shopping smorgasbord before the turkey has even cooled and offering deals earlier or extending sales longer.

More and more brands, however, are adopting a “fed up” anti-Black Friday stance and shunning this famous retail day as a way to promote their brand culture and core values. Consider taking a cue from brands that have TWISTed to observe Black Friday in a more meaningful way with these four tips.

1) Have an attitude of gratitude. What are you thankful for this holiday season? Whether you’re the CEO of a large corporation, the owner of a small business, or a solo entrepreneur, you should be counting your customers as one of your blessings. After all, your business depends on them! Take time to show your customers some love and appreciation. Here are 10 ways to say thank you this holiday.

2) Focus less on stuff—and more on the stuff that matters. While many brands balk at the idea of missing out on the biggest day in retail, sitting it out, can earn you some positive PR.  REI’s #OptOutside campaign, is still going strong in its fourth year. Every Black Friday, the company closes up shop and encourages employees (who get the day off with pay) and customers to spend the day enjoying the outdoors. Being transparent about what’s important to your brand will attract loyal, long-term fans whose personal values are aligned with yours.

3) Consider giving instead of getting. As the saying goes, it is better to give than receive. In an effort to leverage overconsumption for the greater good, Patagonia announced it would give 100% of its 2016 Black Friday sales to grassroots organizations working toward environmental change. The response was overwhelming, and the company ended up donating a total of $10 million—nearly five times its projected Black Friday sales that year? Ask your customers to join you in kicking off the holiday season with an act of charity. Participate in Giving Tuesday, encourage customers to reduce what they already have at home by dropping of their donation to your business in exchange for a discount.

4) Sell experiences, not things. Regardless of industry, great brands know it’s not about the product—it’s about the experience. Instead of fighting to give customers the best deal in town, why not offer them something the competition can’t? Consider inviting customers to learn something new or create their own holiday gifts with a hands-on class, rather than discounting your products (and subsequently diminishing the value of your hard work).

Did you enjoy these TWISTing tips? Discover even more ways to strengthen your brand in my best-selling book,  TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands.

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Julie is the Founder and CEO of BrandTwist, a brand consultancy that helps entrepreneurs and corporations build stronger, more profitable brands.


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