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The 4th of July is typically cause for celebration, but current events make that challenging for brands. Will 4th of July marketing fizzle out this year? Should brands leave it alone or attempt to make a go of it? Let’s explore how it could look.

We’ll share insight around:

  • The one constant that remains – and is expanded this year – fireworks
  • How many brands (and consumers) are making the most of The Fourth
  • Ways brands should be planning ahead for other upcoming holidays

And here are some stats to consider as you weigh your options:

  • Fireworks sales are up as much as 200% this year
  • On average, Americans spend $6.8 billion on food for Fourth of July parties
  • In 2019, 47+ million Americans traveled over 50 miles to celebrate with family and friends
  • In 2019, over $1 billion was spent on fireworks

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US Consumers Typically Love the 4th 

Pool parties. Barbeques. Family. Fireworks. Just some of the many traditions that families have kept alive on the Fourth of July for many years. In fact, in past non-pandemic ridden years, Americans planned to spend $6.8 billion on Fourth of July food while 47+ million traveled over 50 miles to celebrate the holiday. And a whopping $1B+ was spent on fireworks in 2019!

In 2019, the majority of the conversation surrounding Independence Day was around events, celebrations and things to do in cities across America, with fireworks making up a large part of those conversations. And the overall sentiment of media articles published leading up to the celebrations was overwhelmingly positive.

july-4th-sentiment-map

And that jibed with consumer sentiment. They seemed to be pretty excited:

consumer-sentiment-around-july-4th

But with social distancing guidelines still in effect in many states across the country, things are not looking the same this year. This means, once again, that brands will have to pivot their holiday marketing strategies to meet the ever-evolving needs of their consumers!

Surveying the Social Mood

Using social media listening to dig into the conversation climate, we can see that the social mood has shifted tremendously year over year, with many people feeling angry as July 4th approaches. And this was not the case last year, when we see “joy” as the overwhelming emotion:

2019:

2019-july-4th-social-mood

2020:

2020-july-4th-social-mood

Some folks are upset over cancelled fireworks displays.

cancelled-fireworks-concern

While others wouldn’t seem to mind if the fireworks stopped all together, as they’ve been going off for months in some parts of the country.

hate-for-fireworks

And that’s the only thing that feels the same this year is the debate around fireworks – boy are there fireworks! Looking at clusters of topics surrounding the Fourth of July, we see everything from cancelled displays to firework sales. People are talking and buying. So much so that Phantom Fireworks has seen some of their retail locations’ sales soar by as much as 200%.

But, if your brand isn’t a fireworks reseller, what should you do?

Making the Most of the 4th

So, you don’t sell fireworks but you still want to be part of the conversations happening about the Fourth of July this year? This is still possible, if you’re armed with the right tools. And this is where consumer and market intelligence can offer insight.

But with so much up in the air, brands are encouraged to tread smartly. Budweiser creates a winning campaign with its can design honoring troops, but others may be struggling to find a way to connect. And it’s no secret that ad dollars are tight amidst COVID-19, so money should be spent wisely when taking to digital advertising, of course.

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As many as 69% of brands have or will decrease ad spend dollars this year. The NetBase product breaks down the geo locations of where conversations are happening about specific topics, like the Fourth of July while also giving you a glimpse of the specific conversations happening. This would be a great opportunity for your brand to geofence some advertising campaigns to get the most engagement for your money.

Where are Targeted Conversations Happening?

Looking at the map below, we can see that the heaviest social conversations surrounding the Fourth of July are happening in big states like Texas, California and Florida.

geo-regions-tracking-july-4th-conversations

In Florida, some people are looking forward to spending time camping with friends and family. Can your brand participate in that conversation somehow?

july-4th-conversation-around-camping

And we know that food is a big part of these celebrations – so targeting your sales in areas where folks are gathering makes sense. For example, we see Oreo offering a patriotic triple stuffed cookie, and donut franchise Krispy Kreme is taking advantage of the firework frenzy and family gatherings through a limited time offering of holiday themed donuts.

krispykreme-patriotic-sprinkles

While in California, some people are looking for alternatives as beaches are being shut down for the holiday weekend.

beaches-closing-for-4th-of-july

Perhaps brands can use this as an opportunity to bring experiences, like the beach, to consumers!

Hawaiian-tropic-brining-beach-to-consumers

However, your brand decides to approach marketing this 4th of July, be sure your focus is family and safety-first. Small gathering celebrations are going to be quite popular this year. And folks are seeking tips around ways to stay safe and participate in celebrations virtually.

timeline-showing-conversations-around-family-and-safety

Whichever route you decide to go, tuning in and understanding segments with social listening and market intelligence will be crucial to success, particularly as things keep changing. And it shouldn’t just stop at the Fourth of July, as we are going to quickly be coming up on the holiday season.

Planning Ahead for Other Holidays

It’s never too soon to start strategizing for the holidays. To get ahead of the game, your brand should keep an eye on.

  • Consumer holiday traditions and benchmarks from years past – such as top holiday purchase and generational gift picks
  • What travel will look like in Q4, as this is typically the busiest travel season and that’s likely to change a good bit. Brands are preparing for what travel will even look like post COVID-19. This webinar will help prepare your brand create the right approach to the “new normal” ahead of the busy travel season.
  • What will shopping look like? Will it be all online? What will this mean for brick and mortar retailers? It won’t be enough to understand what is being said. Instead, it’s important to dig into the sentiment around the conversations, too.
  • Use social listening tools and trend analyses to figure out what are people planning to do for the holidays. Will they get together with family or will they take to virtual celebrations? This will be important for strategizing media placements and other advertising too.
  • What about holiday festivities? Christmas tree lightings? Football games? Trick-or-treating? What do people enjoy most about the holidays? What do people anticipate? Which posts get the most media traction? And where can you insert your brand into these conversations?

Creating some contingencies based on what you’re seeing is wise. The sooner you get ahead of it, the better your ROI will be. Because, for some, ROI will be nonexistent.

Reach out for a demo to make sure that brand isn’t you!

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