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Giving Tuesday and the rise of the emotional economy

Giving Tuesday, aka #GivingTuesday, is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration among individuals and companies. It is celebrated on the Tuesday after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday and Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Black Friday is the unofficial start of the holiday buying season, but Giving Tuesday is the unofficial start of the giving season. Giving Tuesday was created as an international day of charitable giving to kick off Christmas and the holiday season. So far, $400 million has been raised online in the U.S. this year.  

It is no surprise that social media has such a substantial impact on business nowadays. Many unofficial holidays are celebrated worldwide that were created solely because of social media, such as Margarita Day and National Pizza Day. These unofficial “hashtag holidays” give brands the opportunity to personify themselves and participate in the emotions created by the holiday season and other celebratory events. Giving Tuesday is an example of one of the most successful and charitable social campaign days and exemplifies the growing need for brands to make personal connections with consumers.  


Adjusting to the emotional economy   

To be successful at participating in Giving Tuesday celebrations, first of all, brands must be authentic. Consumers are smart, so charity for the sake of sales will turn them off. Customers want to feel understood and relate to the brands they interact with on a daily basis. Participating in the emotional economy gives brands a chance to show off company culture and personality, and also offers the opportunity to tell a story from a different perspective, while hopefully making a true impact.

As far back as 2013, a Harvard Business Review article showed that companies practicing “conscious capitalism” perform ten times better than their peers. The idea of conscious capitalism is a great example of the shift toward an emotional economy. It refers to the idea of companies and corporations being aware of the world’s challenges, connecting with customers on social issues, and incorporating these sorts of values into their mission statement or purpose.


Connecting with consumers

Customers are ruled by their emotions, and brands should view emotion as a critical area of business. There are plenty of ways for brands to participate in Giving Tuesday and connect with customers at a deeper level.  

Brands can:

  • Use their technology for good—for example, Asking Amazon’s Alexa to donate to Toys for Tots.

  • Match donations on Giving Tuesday by choosing a particular organization to support and matching the contributions by either employees or certain communities.

  • Encourage employees to volunteer by blocking off certain times for them to support a specific organization during an org-wide initiative.  

  • Use brand awareness for good by creating a campaign that benefits a non-profit.

  • Support a non-profit by donating their products or services.

An example of a brand successfully using its technology for good was when JetBlue ran its #CheckInForGood contest. JetBlue flew a plane full of do-gooders to a surprise “Destination Good,” the Dominican Republic. Winners of JetBlue’s #CheckInForGood contest received a free trip to the Dominican Republic, where they spent three days renovating a local school and community play space, and built buoys to protect the coral reef beds. JetBlue also has yearlong programs that promote their initiative, “JetBlue for Good.”

For the past 11 years, Subaru has been using its brand awareness for good by partnering with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, providing almost $25 million to support the health, rescue, transport, and adoption of more than 57,000 animals. Subaru even went the extra mile by creating an unofficial holiday, Make a Dog’s Day, on October 22 to start a nationwide effort to help shelter dogs find loving homes—with a special emphasis on shelter dogs with special needs.


Are your programmatic investments ready for the giving season?

Brand marketers are at the frontlines of promoting and protecting their digital investments and seeking authentic connections with consumers. #GivingTuesday is a massive digital campaign, and if brands want to make a difference, they have to be very specific where they choose to have a presence. As purchase mind-sets change this time of year, target audiences may need to be adjusted and content strategies modified.   

An especially important component for programmatic investments this time of year is the need for brand safety. Though brands should be monitoring where their ads are appearing 365 days a year, nothing can destroy a jolly holiday spirit like seeing an ad in a place where it doesn’t resonate. Emotional messaging is very sensitive and requires more campaign monitoring and adjusting.


Get in the spirit

Eliciting more feelings from your marketing doesn’t have to be an exercise in impressions and engagement but is an opportunity to truly inspire and motivate change. How can you contribute to a more conscious consumer mentality and spread your own version of joy?

There is no better time to emotionally connect with your audience and focus on your brand’s values than the holiday season. There are numerous ways to get involved while making a change. Get in the giving spirit, and think about how you can resonate with more meaningful messages.

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