Black Friday is dead. At least that’s the word coming out of USA Today and I agree.

Now, if you’re looking for an expert at shopping on Black Friday, I’m not that person. I’ve never shopped on Black Friday. But, as a brand strategist, I can see the problems brewing.

black-friday-shopping-620km111612-1363291018That’s because there are a few basic tenants of brand that Black Friday is now breaking:

  • You can’t be for everybody. With everyone doing Black Friday, with some stores starting early by opening on Thanksgiving, and bargain deals happening throughout the holiday shopping season, the exclusivity of it has been diluted. When you are for everybody, you’re really for nobody because there is no special identification about it.

You must have an aspirational brand face. Using the term “brand face” is a little inside baseball, but it’s the definition of who you are when you use that brand. For instance, the Apple brand face is a person who thinks differently and appreciates simple design. With the advent of Internet shopping, the brand face of the Black Friday shopper is that they’re stupid.

You must have a vision for the brand. This means adapting to change because the world will move on without you. You must constantly think ahead and adapt to the changing winds. The response from retailers has been to simply make the event longer. That’s not looking ahead. That’s reacting in panic mode.

Do I expect the throngs to stay away on Friday? No, but I expect the numbers to be lower than before and for Black Friday to ebb each year. Retailers need a new plan and it can’t be Brown Thursday, either.