My total lack of preparedness for Valentine’s Day later this week is in stark contrast to the meticulous planning for Purple Tuesday 2020 which soft launches today (11 Feb 2020). Apart from taking place in a (very) busy week there are further parallels to be drawn.
Both are a celebration of something that is significant, not just on one day, but over 365 days a year. Note that the focus will be on the celebration, and not being the day when changes are made.
Following your feedback from the Purple Tuesday survey, we have brought the date forward by a week, so Purple Tuesday will be celebrated this year on 3 November, which will avoid any clashes with Remembrance Day.
Participants signing up to Purple Tuesday will have agreed and delivered their activities to change the customer experience before 3 November, and then use the day to acknowledge and promote their ongoing disability journey with both staff and customers. The 14 February is also a manifestation of the preceding year and not a knee-jerk guilt trip for what hasn’t happened!
Whatever your reasons, both Purple Tuesday and Valentine’s Day provide a real commercial opportunity if done right.
At the centre of success both events provide the customer with the right experience. A sense of feeling wanted; something that shows you really have been thoughtful, and that you are willing to spend your money for the experience. For the avoidance of doubt, the latter point for Valentine’s Day is about the consumer and its relationship with the card shop, restaurant, hotel etc.
However, there can be a danger of overhype and a sense of déjà vu. With our significant others, a lot of people try to do something different each year, whether that be a different restaurant, different get away or a different activity all together. For Purple Tuesday, we will be creating new resources, promoting new approaches that work from other participants, and establishing the Purple Tuesday 365 club (something new and exciting to be fully disclosed in the not so distant future!).
Lastly, Purple Tuesday and Valentine’s Day compete in a crowded market. The latter is squeezed between Christmas, Mother’s Day and then Easter, while Purple Tuesday continually has to fight not to be seen as another awareness day amongst dozens. It must stand as a programme for organisations to understand the opportunity of the Purple Pound and deliver their raison d’être of delivering a quality customer experience for disabled people.
My calls to action for you this week:
- Register your organisation’s interest for Purple Tuesday (purpletuesday.org.uk). It takes no longer than five minutes. If you are not sorted for Friday, google “Valentine’s Day inspirational ideas”. Again, this task should not take more than five minutes.
- Make your Purple Tuesday commitments. Agree those activities that will have an impact 365 days a year. I am not sure you need telling the Valentine commitment should also be an all year-round one!
- Start delivering today and don’t leave it all lastminute.com. The virtual ‘to do later’ in-tray is not an option. And don’t think you can get away with doing it on the cheap. You will be found out and damage your relationship with the very people you are trying to recognise as very important. This, of course, applies equally to Purple Tuesday and Valentine’s Day.
- Plan for milestones and celebrations throughout the year. People require constant reinforcement, and need to know you care, and their experience, is not simply about one day, but will grow even stronger as the relationship – the bond – deepens.
Back to my planning to ensure both are meticulously delivered this week.
Mike Adams OBE
Chief Executive Officer
11 February 2020