There’s a weekend getaway coming up and you need a new tent, sleeping bag, and some hiking boots.  Several stores could fulfill the need for your trip.  Dick’s Sporting Goods (A huge retailer out of Pittsburg, PA) or REI (a co-op based out of Seattle, WA) could both fill these needs for you.  But who to choose?  Both offer easy to navigate websites that are similar in appearance.  Both also have membership programs that are valid for the lifeline of your own life’s line.

How do they differentiate?  Looking at the social media sites for both, you will find that they crushed it in 2016.  Both drive social media efforts towards engagement and sharing within their communities.  Asking for image sharing of weekend hikes, posts of favorite places to visit, and the gear used to do these fun adventures used.  With every similarity, there are differences and the key differentiation for both companies in 2016 was the approach taken on Black Friday.


Black Friday 2016 for Dick’s meant big deals and discounts.  Dick’s used social media to not only let customers in on door buster deals but created the hashtag #GiftThatMatters sweepstakes to encourage sharing of a photo of a product in store that  would enter them into winning a $500 Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card.  645 locations participated in this sweepstakes naming ten winners to showcase other promotional giveaways during the season.  With a mobile app developed and omnichannel convenient pickup, enhancing Dick’s “ability to provide an even wider selection and convenience to our in-store customers, Dick’s arms associates with mobile devices, kiosks and other workstations to offer customers an “Endless Aisle” experience” (Acosta, 2015).


Image retrieved from REI ADWEEK


REI took a much different approach to social media on Black Friday.  They took their efforts prior to the season with notifications of an offline in an approach to preserve the holiday season and what it means for social responsibility in their eyes.  Setting them far apart from other retailers in the time of year where the norm is “hustle, bustle, shop til you drop”, REI created the anti-Black Friday campaign #OptOutside.   Accompanying this campaign was clickable links sent over via email or on their social accounts.  Encouraging sharing of how you spent your Black Friday or preemptively, how you were going to spend the season.


The success of the campaign proved fruitful with winning top honors in 2016 at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.   The campaign used 143 locations on Black Friday to pay its 12,000 employees to do what they love outdoors with their friends and families.  Who wouldn’t want to be differentiated from competitors by being known for that as a company?


Acosta, G. (2015, November 12). At Dick’s Sporting Goods, Black Friday is all about social media. Retrieved January 29, 2017, from http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/dicks-sporting-goods-black-friday-all-about-social-media