Talking points, research and Black Friday Creep

November 16, 2012

By Dan Schlacter

Dan Schlacter

This week, The Tennessean covered backlash over “Black Friday Creep,” or the slow migration of traditional Black Friday sales and store openings from the day after Thanksgiving to the evening hours of the holiday.

The article was timely, interesting and informative; but what I appreciated most was a quote exemplifying the value of knowing and sticking to your talking points.

Here are a few quotes from the piece. Can you guess which one I liked best?

“It takes away from what the holiday is about. (Retailers) don’t need to open that early. The consumer is going to come to you, no matter when you open.”

–          Laura Stansberry, Nashville, Tenn.

     “We heard from our guests that they look forward to kicking off their holiday shopping with deal-hunting on Thanksgiving night.”

–          Kathee Tesija, executive vice president of merchandising for Target

     “Bottom line, there are lots of consumers who love these sales and they are going to show up whenever the sales begin.”

–          Steve Posavac, Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management

      “I like the idea. It gives you more of a chance to go in and get your things      early. I will be at Wal-Mart at 8 p.m. (Thanksgiving).”

–          Lee Merritt, Nashville, Tenn.

If you guessed Target executive Kathee Tesija, than you are right.

Tesija did a nice job of concisely stating why Target decided to open its stores on Thanksgiving night. She did not let herself or her employer get caught up in a debate about whether Black Friday Creep is good or bad. She didn’t dodge the question and comment on the greater meaning of the holidays. She kept it simple with a focus on customer service.

This is a great example of why it is important to know your talking points and stick to them.

Tesija’s quote also underscores one of our favorite things here at McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations: research.

No decision is as smart or easy to explain as one based on research.

     Q: Why are you opening on Thanksgiving instead of Black Friday?

     A: Because we asked our customers what they wanted, and this is what   they told us. 

Another great thing about research is that it isn’t just for making informed business decisions. Here’s a five-word hint about how it can help you avoid being asked, “Why would you buy me this?”

Refer. To. Her. Wish. List.

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