One retailer, REI, is choosing to close all its stores and encourage customers and employees to spend the day outdoors instead of participating in the annual tradition of Black Friday shopping. This decision is being considered as an Iconic Move, where the company takes a stand to define its values and capture public attention. Although this move may have a short-term impact on sales and profits, it serves as a demonstration that REI has a purpose beyond monetary gains. In an era where people are seeking to align themselves with companies that possess a genuine purpose, those who discover and live by this purpose are outperforming their peers financially.
An Iconic Move constitutes a tangible action that reflects a company's identity and values, providing clarity and focus amidst the flood of corporate platitudes and marketing campaigns. Regardless of potential short-term costs, it ultimately leads to long-term success by fostering increased loyalty among customers and employees. For instance, REI sacrificed sales on Black Friday but gained loyalty and solidified its connection with its purpose. True Iconic Moves are rare but exert a lasting impact on a company's identity, such as Volvo's decision to freely share their life-saving invention with other automakers.
The initial step in executing an Iconic Move involves identifying the appropriate purpose, one that mirrors the company's unique character and motivations, rather than merely adopting popular causes or making generic statements.Bud Light's attempt earlier this year to support the transgender cause by enlisting a social media influencer has resulted in immediate and negative consumer backlash. The campaign failed to align with the brand's customer values, emphasizing the importance of proper execution in reflecting a company's core values.
When executed correctly, the concept of Iconic Moves involves genuine and courageous displays of a company's purpose. These moves can act as catalysts for further transformation, as demonstrated by CVS. A decade ago, CVS aimed to shift from a discount store to a healthcare provider. However, the presence of cigarette packs on its shelves posed a significant contradiction. In 2014, CVS made the Iconic Move to cease selling tobacco in its stores, despite incurring some costs. This decision ultimately enhanced CVS's brand value and boosted its yearly revenue significantly.
Implementing remarkable Iconic Moves demands substantial creative thinking to identify impactful actions that may involve temporary financial setbacks. CVS's approach of examining aspects of their business that contradicted their purpose proved effective. Previously, companies could escape scrutiny for contradictory messaging and actions. However, in today's era of heightened media scrutiny and the demand for transparency, this tactic is increasingly challenging.
Disney took proactive action in 2012 by banning junk food advertising on its TV channels for kids. This decision was aligned with their purpose of making children and their families happier and also catered to growing consumer preferences for healthier options. Not only was it a strategic move, but it also dealt a blow to Disney's primary competitor, Nickelodeon, who relied heavily on ad revenue.
The Iconic Moves taken by companies like REI, Volvo, Disney, and CVS have made significant contributions to addressing environmental issues and promoting healthier and safer lives. This achievement is remarkable, but it is also crucial to consider how these moves set companies up for long-term financial success. They give customers and employees a lasting reason to choose them over their competitors.
Merely hoping for a successful holiday shopping season without a strategy is insufficient. On the other hand, embedding a company's purpose into an Iconic Move is a powerful strategy to ensure long-term customer loyalty beyond the holiday season.