Billingslea Media
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Creative Content and Story Telling
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It’s no secret that the competition to be seen on social media has become intense. More than ever, brands have to find new ways to stay engaged and get noticed online. Aside from posting regularly and creating compelling written copy, brands are creating stories and alter egos that leave their followers staring at their phones waiting to see what their next move will be. They are even jumping in on trending celebrity news on social media. This week, Twitter erupted when Kim Kardashian tweeted to fast food chain Jack in the Box. The internet immediately exploded with food chains tweeting to Kardashian with tons of funny comments.

Known for their comical Tweets, Wendy’s immediately jumped in with a comment for Kardashian

Known for their comical Tweets, Wendy’s immediately jumped in with a comment for Kardashian



Not to be outdone, Burger King jumped in with it’s own comments about Kim and her experience with Jack and the Box

Not to be outdone, Burger King jumped in with it’s own comments about Kim and her experience with Jack and the Box

Some of you may remember last year when Wendy’s created a ‘mixtape’ entitled ‘We Beefin’ with “diss tracks” against McDonald’s like ‘Rest In Grease’ and ‘4 for $4’. The viral post made headlines, and got people talking about the fast food chain again. While it’s unclear as to whether the mixtape increased their bottom line or not, it was definitely a great PR push for the company, and a way of solidifying how they want to be viewed as a brand…fun, engaging, and relevant.

What does your brand say about you? Has your company embarked on a social media campaign with a funny theme or story line?

Tell us your thoughts on story telling through social media.



The Shea story: Branding Mistakes from the pros
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In the digital world, brand ambassadors can either make or break you, Having every day consumers share the benefits of your products and services can be one of the most low cost ways of advertising. But what happens when you do something to disappoint that customer base? How in the world do you rebuild a brand that is trusted by the people who will put money behind your brand and endorse you at all times? Shea Moisture is just one brand that is feeling a huge negative effect from a campaign that angered their core base. Now we are looking at what they could have done differently to avoid the backlash. 

Shea Moisture is known is for creating products primarily for African American women. The company prides itself on using all nature products and endorsing a mission to give reverence to its African ancestors It's latest ad did not seem to reflect that mission. The company, who has recently been acquired by a larger company, is expanding its customer base. They have created new products that can be used by women of all different hair types. The newest ad expressed the perils of women who have experiences "hair hate". Shea Moisture presented an ad that showed them as the solution to these women's problems. The only problem was that they left out one important hair type in the ad: that of the African American woman. 

 

The internet was immediately in an uproar as Shea Moisture began trending on social media. The response from women in the African American community was so swift that Shea Moisture immediately issued an apology. 

"Wow - we really f-ed this one up! Please know that our intent was not, & would never be, to disrespect our community" 

 

But for some, the apology made it worse. It seemed empty and meaningless, and was only met with more criticism. While most people can understand a company wanting to expand, and ultimately increase its profits, loyal customers want to continue to feel an attachment to the brand they grown to love for long. Dove, another beauty centered company seems to be able to hit the mark every single time with its rebranding initiatives. When Dove decided a couple of years back that they wanted more influence in the African American market, they went straight to the source for assistance in how to deliver a campaign that this new audience could identify with. They asked for input from women in the African American community and used the results to expand its market. Dove got it right. and continues to get it right repeatedly. There is a craft to changing things up within your brand. Here are a couple of suggestions on how Shea Moisture could have done things differently: 

Expanding the Product Line

A great company is expected to grow over time. It's perfectly natural to see companies expand their offerings as they grow. But it's important to be cautious about doing so. You have to access the details of your expected results. Are your results to sell more products, or to create more loyal customers? If your company is focused on creating loyal customers, then its important to think about the long term effects at all times. Your customers should serve as silent partners or board members to whom you look to for guidance on how to operate effectively. The last thing you want to do is exclude them from your expansion. 

Alternative Ads

A world where one company offers products that are inclusive of a variety of different groups is an amazing setup. However, when trying to stress inclusiveness its important to remember to include all groups involved. Once again, we can refer to some of the campaigns previously launched by Dove where they focused on showing a variety of women with different skin and hair types, and even different shapes. It helped to build a sense of community. Instead of adding on to the customer base and merging two markets together, Shea Moisture divided them. As women continue to fight for equality in the US, one of the last things they need is more division.

No Apologies

Sometimes there are things that are better left unsaid. Shea Moisture's long, heartfelt apology was almost like a slap in the face to those who were already outraged. The apology seemed like a simple "No. We still want you to buy from us", instead of a "No. We really do understand you. We promise". Once you've mad someone feel as though they matter less to you, words just don't cut it. People want action, and they want it right away. They want a crisis communication team in place that can work on slowly developing that trust again. The trust was not built overnight, and it most certainly will not be regained over night, 

 

What do you think Shea Moisture could have done differently? Would you continue to support a brand that made you feel excluded? Let us know in the comments. 

3 Ways I've Rocked Out The Beginning of The Year
Perfecting Your Brand Everyone wants to start their year out with a bang. But much like fitness goals for the new year, many people fall short in keeping up with their personal and business related goals. I started back in October prepping myself for what I would change in 2015 to take my business to the next level. I started out with generalized goals, and then wrote down specifics of where I would set my sights for the expansion of Billingslea Media. I decided to break down my goals into small tasks, as to not get too overwhelmed. But what's kept me on track are these 3 ideals that guide the overall flow of my work days.

Mindset Without a positive mindset, your path to success will be a lot more bumpy that expected. The #1 thing I've changed is my confidence level. Taking a look back at my business and how its evolved over time, I realized that it was simply am act of Faith. My confidence and resiliency allowed me to remain faithful that things would constantly improve. I set my sights high, and even daydreamed a little, and the energy has motivated me more than ever before.

Sponge-like Reflexes Okay, so I may have made up that term, but by Golly it has made me a better businesswoman. I make it a point to absorb everything I encounter...The good, bad, and the ugly. I absorb it like a sponge, and hold on to it for dear life. I'm amazed at how much I've learned what NOT to do. Instead of filtering out bad business practices or negative energy, I go back to it and remain mindful of those practices. It allows me to remember how to better serve my existing and potential clients.

The Reading Rainbow I cannot express how important it is to read! I have always loved reading, but I never realized just how far it would take me in life. The nerdy girl inside of me gets excited at the thought of new and exciting material, and now the PR Maven inside of me gets excited upon the sight of new layouts and calls to action. Very often I find myself getting inspired by the things I read in the strangest places. Ideas are everywhere, and your inspiration can be revived upon reading your next magazine article or blog post. Sometimes I find that my inspiration is totally unrelated to the topic in which I've read. Other times I see something that I could've done better. But most importantly, I am motivated by the stories shared by successful business owners, coaches, and start up companies. The amount of FREE material on the web today is enough to give you a world class education in business management.

The month of January has brought about great new things for Billingslea Media. I've managed to forge relationships that are mutually beneficial to my overall growth. My clients have set their sights on higher goals, and the partnerships we've forged have been absolutely amazing. There are 11 months left in this year. With this amount of crazy momentum, there is no telling what is going to happen next.
2014 in Review. Setting the standard for greatness!

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I've never been one to embrace change. But over the past couple of years I have learned to love the changes that have emerged in my life. Looking back on the past year has given me a chance to reflect on all of the positive changes that have happened as I continued to  build my company. Billingslea Media has enjoyed tremendous growth; and the changes in the marketing and technology field are opening up new doors for endless possibilities.

A huge part of this business involves going out and building relationships. I strive to maintain my visibility in the community in order to promote my clients, learn new processes, and create opportunities to link my clients with individuals that will help their businesses grow. I've met some amazing people along the way; and even created opportunities for others outside of my industry. I enjoy seeing the look on people's faces when they realize that their dream is closer than they expected. It's the motivating force behind my company, and it drives me to dream bigger.

Here are a couple of highlights from 2014:

Substantial Magazine

In October of 2014 I was featured in Substantial Magazine. The article highlighted my journey as a businesswoman, and shed light on some of the motivating factors that led me to start Billingslea Media. Aside from being able to express my goals and achievements in the magazine article, we also held an engaging and fun filled photo shoot that captured all of the facets of my personality.

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A month later I found myself engrossed in the mission and potential in the magazine, and published my first article as a Substantial Magazine staff writer. Joining the team has been a perfect marriage of passion, humility, innovation, creativity, and fun. In September we produced our very first awards show in which we honored the contributions of significant leaders in our community. The event garnered the support of hundreds of people across Eastern NC; including university staff members, government officials, and our very own Mayor Allen Thomas. In the coming year, Substantial Magazine will be unveiling a host of new projects and amazing content for our readers. I look forward to applying my experience as a Public Relations professional to the growth of the entire Substantial brand.

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•LinkedIn•

Just as Snapchat is the quintessential marketing tool for the teenage beauty queen, LinkedIn is a necessary tool for the modern day professional who is looking to establish themselves and further their career. Beginning in mid 2014, I decided to increase my activity on the social networking site. I utilized the Premium features of the platform that would allow me to expand my reach.

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Once establishing new connections, I made sure to extend the relationships beyond the home page. I engaged in conversations with my contacts to exchange ideas, establish my expertise, and even make other introductions. My complete LinkedIn profile and publishing page has resulted in connecting like-minded individuals, fine tuning my personal and professional brand, and landing a seat on the board of a local charter school.

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•Tweet Chats•

For years I frowned upon engaging in the "senseless" activity of Tweet Chats. To me, it was a waste of time to sit and look at what other people had to say in response to a professional who was leading the conversation. I didn't have time to filter through their comments, nor did I see the benefit in talking to strangers online.

Little did I know that talking to strangers would be beneficial to furthering my career. Of course it felt a little odd at first, but once I warmed up to the idea of exchanging ideas with others who were seeking more information within my industry, the process became an enjoyable and profitable activity.

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One of my favorite Tweet Chat series this year was the Black Enterprise Corner Office series. The series featured a wide variety of special guests who engaged with the participants and shared information about their areas of expertise. Guests ranged from Actor & Community Activist Lamann Rucker to Entrepreneur and former Apprentice superstar Randall Pinkett. Over the life of the series, Black Enterprise introduced a wide variety of experts who provided an amazing array of pertinent business and community leadership information, and even aided in the introduction of various professionals all over the country. My personal experience with the Black Enterprise Corner Office series has introduced me to several thought leaders who have challenged and encouraged me to grow my business, as well as offer resources to maximize my potential.

•Small Business Saturday

The annual American Express Small Business Saturday provided an opportunity for me to end my year with a bang! Each year, the movement grows larger and larger, and provides free resources for small business owners across the country. Their site offers articles and quick tips to allow merchants to maximize their reach and increase sales. The company also offers FREE marketing materials that are shipped to you free of charge within days. This year's goods were shipped via American Express partner FedEx, and included branded canvas shopping bags, pens, balloons, welcome mats, banners, and extra signage. Business Owners were encouraged to share their ideas and show how they used the promotional materials in their marketing efforts.

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Because Billingslea Media is not a brick and mortar business, being creative in my marketing activities is essential. As I watched other companies and other clients engage in Small Business Saturday activities, I did not want to let the day go by without participating myself. My virtual Small Business Saturday Shopping Spree not only managed to pair several small businesses with one another and allow businesses to increase their weekend sales, but it also caught the attention of CAN Capital. I entered the CAN Capital Small Business Saturday competition, and was one of two businesses who were awarded as the winners amongst hundreds of contestants. As a winner in the competition, I was awarded a $100 Amazon gift card and a one hour consulting session with Entrepreneur, Author, and Consultant Gene Marks.

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The achievements of 2014 set the standard for my company's vision for the coming year. As my network increases in size, I find inspiration not only to continue to service my clients, but also to expand my services and scope of influence. I look forward to the smiles on my client's faces when I show them just how wonderful their dreams can be when they trust their vision to Billingslea Media.