Fourth of July 2020: A day of independence or another day of limitations?
How the 4th of July is hitting the 5 Drivers of Momentum this year
July 4th is the traditional day of freedom, independence and celebrating American values. This year, it was due to be a national celebration of the end of quarantine, lockdown and sheltering in place. As Americans, we expected it to be the first time we could gather and celebrate with others outside our immediate household with confidence we wouldn’t get sick any longer. We expected to finally regain our independence from the global pandemic.
But it’s not shaping up to be the celebration we anticipated. In fact, we will not be making our Declaration of Independence, because we are still constrained and controlled by COVID-19. Rather than feeling a sense of freedom, independence and appreciation for American values, we are in a state of quagmire, feeling stuck and questioning what our values mean, particularly when it comes to reckoning America’s history of slavery and racism.
In early June, momentum was surging for the 4th of July to be the time when the country feels back to normal — liberation from COVID-19 in the states. But in the last 2 weeks, we’ve started to feel controlled and encumbered yet again. In recent days we have found the full effects of the resurgence of this virus: the introduction of indoor dining in many states is delayed, reopening of gyms and movie theaters is stalled, Broadway won’t open until 2021, beaches are closing again, borders are locked down, and firework displays are canceled.
Rather than momentum coming from the parties and celebrations, this July Fourth is having a momentum moment because it will be a day of introspection and reflection.
4th of July is still seeing a spike in momentum, but for unanticipated reasons: the disappointment and disillusionment of our reality.
Here’s how the 4th of July is hitting the 5 Drivers of Momentum this year:
- Disruption: Now with uncertainty about the state of COVID-19 and whether or not we’ll re-enter another strict lockdown, 4th of July’s day full of socializing and celebrations will end up just being another day of lock down. Lean into this disruption by taking the time to learn, read or engage in meaningful conversations.
- Innovation: JOMO (the Joy of Missing Out) is the new FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) for 4th of July, 2020. In years past, 4th of July is highly anticipated with celebratory parades and parties with friends and family. This year, with limited options and canceled events, Americans will have to rally and find more creative ways to enjoy the day. Think about parents who will have to find ways for kids to enjoy it and feel special. Celebrating America and patriotism for our country will be more introspective than in years past.
- Polarization: July 4th is sparking heightened debate this year, even causing some brands to question how, if at all, they should acknowledge the holiday through marketing and social media. Political identity is influencing how Americans feel about the country. According to a recent Gallup study, Republicans are more likely to say they are “extremely” proud of being an American than Democrats. Some say the heart of the debate is whether being American depends on who you are — such as being an English speaker — or on what you believe — such as valuing freedom or equality.
- Sticky: The reflection and introspection happening this July Fourth is helping to maintain momentum for black lives matter and racial equity. This year, July Fourth will be particularly sticky because we are continuing to question and evolve our American values.
- Social impact: “There is no more patriotic an act than protecting the lives of everyone in the country” (NYT). We’ve always decked out in 4th of July gear to celebrate the holiday. This year, wearing a 4th of July themed mask will mean more than just showing pride for our country. It will be a signal of respect to other Americans and an investment in the health and prosperity of our country.
4th of July is polarizing this year in a way it hasn’t been before. This is a moment for brands and businesses to lean in, take a stance and be part of the tough conversations about:
- American pride and values
- Health and safety
- Black Lives Matter and Racial Equity
- The future state of our country and their business / brand
4th of July is still a pivotal date. Even if the country is not where we expected it to be, businesses and brands should leverage this momentum moment and use this marker to show they are in the momentum mindset by vocalizing their goals for the future state.