While it may be a national holiday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a time for many Americans to reflect on the country’s checkered past regarding social justice and racial harmony. While there’s still a long road ahead, the third Monday in January is reserved for celebrating the life of one of the greatest social reformers in U.S. history.
While you might not think that your small business has any part to play on MLK Day, this national holiday might be a great opportunity to showcase your business’ commitment to the community through your very own Day of Service activity. Held across the country by city governments and private citizens alike, this is a chance to revitalize a park, volunteer at a soup kitchen or spend time with those less fortunate. While you might not sell anything, promotional items can ensure that your customers know which small business not only provides quality goods, but also gives back to the community.
What is a Day of Service?
Technically, MLK Day’s status as a national holiday means most workers won’t have to come into the office. However, the Corporation for National and Community Service explained that, due to the historical significance of the day, people – and small businesses that are closed – should think of it as “a day on, not a day off.”
The CNCS explained that, since Dr. King dedicated himself to bettering his community, everyone celebrating the holiday should do the same. While you don’t need to draw a crowd of 250,000 to your Day of Service like Dr. King did for the 1963 March on Washington, associating your brand with social responsibility and community improvement could do wonders for your reputation.
Market smart on MLK Day
Unlike other holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day, the meaning behind MLK Day isn’t to push more product, and consumers can smell a sneaky marketing ploy from a mile away. Social Media Slant explained that when Minnesota-based ethnic clothing store Global Village Duluth started offering a 25 percent-off-sale on all black-colored apparel, they were lambasted on social media.
Your customers will likely agree with you that the purpose of a small business is to make money, but that doesn’t have to be the overriding priority each and every day. Instead, take a step back on MLK Day and use the power of your brand to promote social responsibility and community involvement. You can always get back to pushing product on Tuesday.
How can you promote your business without coming off as greedy, though? First, focus on your particular Day of Service. Do you want to fix up a nearby park or volunteer at a local homeless shelter? Whatever your choice, make sure you invite you customers to join you for however long they can.
Promotional items are an effective and low-key way to get your brand in the hearts and minds of consumers participating in your Day of Service. If you choose an outdoor activity, give all of the participants something like Myron’s Personalized Visor – with a 3-inch imprint area, you can add elements that promote both your brand and social justice.
Keep the focus on the community
However you choose to honor the late Dr. King, just remember to keep the focus on the day itself and off of your business. If you’re too aggressive with your marketing tactics, customers may feel like you’re taking advantage of a solemn day. Instead, lead by example and let your clientele see for themselves just how socially responsible your small business can be.