Black Friday is undoubtedly a tradition in transition. Technology has altered consumers’ shopping habits and expectations, and fundamentally changed the consumer-brand relationship: with consumers spending more time online, brands know where and when to find them far better than they did ten years ago. Holiday deals have been extended to the weeks before and after Black Friday, signaling that it’s not just a one-day event anymore. Camping-out outside your local department store is no longer the norm: this year, mobile purchases were bigger than ever and many millennials stayed in, contributing to 2016 Black Friday sales declining compared to last year.

Despite these changes, in the run-up to Black Friday every major media outlet is looking to report on retail, making it a critical moment for brands to be a part of the conversation. But as consumer behavior continues to shift, marketers will need to think more critically about making the most out of Black Friday for their brands both now and in the future.

The key is to produce a campaign that builds long-term brand equity rather than one which seeks to boost sales on a single day. Many brands’ Black Friday goals center on rallying customers around holiday promotions and products. However, some of the most innovative companies are using the occasion to increase the mental availability of their brand — the ease with which a brand comes to mind — for the long term and distinguish their values in the minds of consumers.

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