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The Memorial Day Emotional Rollercoaster

Friday, May 25th, 2018

When you think of “Memorial Day,” what comes to mind first?

A) The unofficial start of Summer

B) BBQs and beer

C) Honoring the 45+ million who have served in our military during war time

D) A very welcome long weekend

E) Best time of the year to buy a refrigerator

Like most Americans, you probably had a difficult time deciding on just one “reason for the season.” Since its inception, Memorial Day has nearly always been a “tug-of-war between solemn remembrance and summertime fun.” The holiday lies at the apex of tradition and seasonality. It subconsciously ushers in summer food cravings and outdoor activities. And at the same time it’s also a sacred time to recognize and pay our respects to those that have served in our military. These distinct forms of thought provide challenges for both consumers and brands.

No matter how you slice it, Memorial Day is an emotionally-charged weekend, something we shopper marketers must recognize. Emotions are powerful tools: 70% of consumers agree they will spend up to twice as much on brands they are emotionally attached and loyal to (“Loyalty Deciphered— How Emotions Drive Genuine Engagement”, Digital Transformation Institute, 2017).Particularly on a weekend like Memorial Day that is marked by an emotional range, from grief to joy to belonging, we must tread carefully and thoughtfully.

On this holiday, it’s even more important for brands to lean into their most authentic voices and align with their consumers’ and shoppers’ values—whether those be honoring veterans that have served or firing up the grill.

Contributed by: Megan McCaslin

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