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Posts tagged branding diaries
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. 

ABB: Always Be Branding

 

 

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If I showed you a symbol of a red bulls eye, chances are you would identify it as the symbol that belongs to Target. The same would go if I showed you a pair of golden arches. No matter what language you speak, you would still be able to identify it as the symbol for McDonald's. These are just two examples of easily identifiable brands. It's the epitome of brand success. At some point along the way, you want people to easily recognize your brand and what it stands for. But of course that recognition doesn't come overnight. It takes years of strategic development, consistency, and fortitude until you're a household name.

 

Building a successful brand takes patience and persistence. And contrary to popular belief, you don't start the process AFTER you've already "made it". Your brand is built during the process of "making it". In order for people to take you seriously, and to think of you as being synonymous with your brand, you have to truly live it. You have to become a walking billboard for everything that is associated with your brand....all the time. You want your brand to be (as the young people say) "Lit" (I felt old saying that....Won't do it again).

 

I remember when I first started working as the PR Director for Substantial Magazine. Upon walking in to my very first photo shoot with the magazine , I encountered a young, hungry, and very stylish young man by the name of Dan. Within two seconds of meeting one another we both knew everything we needed to know about one another: We were both serious about our craft, and we both recognized the importance of aligning ourselves with successful and like minded individuals. Although Dan was at least ten years my Junior, I found things in him that I admired. Upon shaking my hand he informed me that he was in school for Fashion Merchandising and that he was going to be one of the top stylists in his industry one day. To which I immediately replied, "Great. You can style my first mainstream magazine cover". From that day on, every encounter with Dan had something to do with fashion. Whether he was sharing new ideas or creating new designs , or simply checking out what I had on and seeing how my unique style fit into the current fashion climate. Today, just a year and a half out of college, he is traveling coast to coast styling for some of the most popular international brands and events in mainstream media. How did he achieve such great success in such a short amount of time? Easy. He LIVED his dreams. He immersed himself in everything that was associated with fashion, branding, and current trends. He created the life he wanted by becoming synonymous with fashion, and the world took notice.

 

 

I started my business with a political science degree and a desire to help people achieve their dreams. I just didn't know what shaping those dreams looked like. I didn't think marketing and branding would be a way for me to help people. I underestimated how intricate of a detail your brand message would be to cementing your business' success. But without a solid brand message, people won't take your brand seriously. So I set out to figure out everything I could learn about helping people build their brands. I read everything I came across, listened to every Periscope and Podcast I could find, and started studying White Papers from major brands that ran successful marketing campaigns. I even volunteered my services for nonprofits and small startups just to get the experience I needed to deliver the best possible service I could. People began to associate me with building communication strategies that helped businesses propel towards excellence. I used everything I knew, and applied it to my business. I gave my clients insight into what they were missing by not investing into their brands. I found that a lot of people miss the small tweaks that they can make to their image both online and offline that can have a positive effect on their brand. Over time, these small tweaks can lead to a big splash in the pool of your niche.

 

Living your brand means making a complete lifestyle change. It means diving in head first every second that you get for even the smallest rewards. It means sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office mapping out your next big idea, or taking on an internship at your dream company even when you are wayyyyyyy past the average age of most interns.

 

Building a brand takes work, and sometimes more patience than originally expected. But the good news is that there are resources to help you start the process. Start out with some of the tips in our FREE Branding eBook. It's a great way to start small with ways to get your name out there as an expert in your field without feeling the overwhelm of a massive brand campaign. There are no data analyses or complicated flowcharts to give you. Just simple tips to give you a head start on the image you want to build. Download yours today and get started on building the brand of your dreams.

 

For more branding inspiration and business tips, subscribe to our mailing list today!

The Branding Diaries 

The Branding Diaries 

5 Quick Ways to Create New Content

Coming up with great content can sometimes be a chore. During months when you are swamped with your work-life balance, or perhaps in need of a vacation, making sure you are continuing to deliver content is something that most of us struggle with. When there’s a monkey wrench thrown into your existing plans, you can most certainly roll with it and continue to crank out content for your followers. Here are a couple of quick tips to keep the content stream flowing.

1-      Throwback Posts Unless you’re someone like Gary Vaynerchuk, it is probably likely that most people haven’t read ALL of your content. Even if they are a loyal reader, chances are that they’ve probably missed a post or two. Posting a “throwback post” is a great way to re-purpose content while ensuring that your readers get what they missed. Go back into the archives and look at some of your best performing posts, and repost them for your current reader stream. You can even go so far as to rewrite those posts, or do an intro as to why you chose to share that particular post. Add in some new graphics (or not…your choice), and you are good to go.

2-      Quotes Instagram is easily one of the biggest platforms in which you can find quotes.  Some people have even created accounts that are based solely on posting quotes. Take a cue from these wildly successful accounts and post your own quotes. There are tons of apps and programs that allow you to create your own background and use text overlays to achieve this same effect. For added value, it’s an even better idea to use your own quotes from blog posts, magazine articles, or interviews. Take a couple of lines from one of your blog posts and type in your URL on the bottom of the graphic. If that doesn’t work, maybe share a quote from one of your favorite books. Just make sure to give the author proper credit, and even tag them if they’re on social media.

3-      Video vs Written Content Your audience will vary on each platform. You may find that your blog followers don’t necessarily convert into Periscope followers, and vice versa. To ensure that all of your followers across all of your platforms have access to all of your amazing content, convert the content across all platforms. If you’re a person who writes out notes for your Periscope broadcasts, you are already halfway there. Add a little bit more text, and even some great points from comments during your broadcast, and you’ve got another great blog post. The same can be said for converting blog posts. Take the main points of your post and discuss them with your Periscope followers for a quick information packed broadcast.

4-      ‘Best Of’ Posts Blog posts, even when written a year ago, can always be repurposed. Perhaps you have a blog post that did exceptionally well and created tons of traffic to your site last year. You’d want a creative way to re-share that post right? Why not take your posts and compile them in a ‘Best Of’ post? It’s a great way to offer comprehensive information in a specific niche from within your blog. Take a look at your most popular meta tags, and share the top five performing posts with that particular keyword. It will not only serve as a great way to recycle existing content, but also offer convenience to readers who are looking for a complete set of posts on a specific topic.

5-      Guest Bloggers Need a break from cranking out those awesome ideas? Well, you can always hand off the baton to someone else. Having a guest blogger is a great way to show a diverse side to your blog or website. It also allows you to expand your audience with the readers that particular guest blogger may bring. Take a look at some of the experts in your niche that you communicate with and look into collaborating. Just be sure that your collaboration is with someone relevant to your audience.

Creating great content on a regular basis is not always easy, but it doesn’t have to be very difficult either. Step outside the box in terms of content creation, and you’ll soon find that new and amazing content is usually right under your nose.

Do you have a hard time creating and sharing new content? What are some creative ways you share new content?

*This post was originally publishing on LinkedIn.com and was republished for Billingsleamedia.com*

Brand Yourself For Success
the branding diaries

Everywhere you look these days, people are talking about the importance of building your brand. In the past, branding was something that was reserved for politicians and athletes. But these days, everyone, regardless of their industry, should be concerned about building their brand. In this modern era when everyone has updated information at their fingertips at all times, you want to position yourself to be able to take control of your image, even in the event that you are getting negative press.

Here are a couple of ways to get a jump start on your branding efforts.

1- Determine Your Approach

What exactly is it that you want to be known for? This is the most important step for branding success. You have to know yourangle before you start throwing things out there. It's much easier to take your time and develop your message than it is to throw things out there, then have to backtrack and clean things up later.

2- Study The Experts

There are certain people who dominate their industries, and make it look incredibly easy. But trust and believe, it probably looks a lot easier on the outside than it is on the inside. Most people who are considered heavy hitters in their respective fields have spent years working on their approach. Luckily for us on the outside we have a front row seat, and for all intents and purposes, a shortcut to learning how to build our own personal brands. If there are people who you admire, and they've done an excellent job at building their brand, you have the perfect opportunity to learn from them. Now, that doesn't mean make your brand mirror theirs. It is never a good idea to create an EXACT duplicate of someone else's brand. Instead, look to them for guidance and inspiration. Reach out to them and ask questions about what they did when they were in your position, or what tips they may have for you as you continue to build. Take those tips and figure out how similar or different they are to the way you've been building so far.  You have to pull out the things that make your brand unique.

3- Pick Your Platform

Your approach to how and why you want to build your brand will determine your platform of choice. There is a ton of debate in the digital atmosphere about establishing yourself on social media platforms effectively. Unless you have a team in place that is able to carry out a consistent voice, it is often extremely difficult to dominate on ALL platforms. But the good news is that you actually don't need to dominate on every single platform. Your target market may not be on all of those platforms. Perhaps you market to an older generation; Your ideal client (or next employer) is probably not on Snapchat. They are most likely to be found on LinkedIn or Facebook. Maybe your brand represents visual arts. In that case, something like Instagram or Pinterest is probably the best avenue. And maybe, after looking at the demographics for social media platforms, you realize that your audience is not even found on social media. Maybe they are sticklers about print media or in person networking. Pay attention to where your audience hangs out, and make your presence known.

4- Be Yourself

It's not enough to get out there and start rubbing elbows with every Tom, Dick, and Harry who might be interested in your brand. You've got to make sure that you are developing authentic relationships at all times. The tone of voice that your competitor uses may work well for them, but may sound awful for you. People will figure out very quickly whether or not you are truly genuine, and they will absolutely judge you for what they see. People appreciate authenticity. And they will much rather do business with someone they think they can trust. It does you no good to create this false persona online, only to have people discover a totally different person in real life. It gives them the impression that you don't value them, or that you aren't selling what you promise. Whatever you do, don't be that guy!

If you want to build your brand, you have to be willing to be patient throughout the process. The internet and social media have drastically changed the way we do business. We have to learn to roll with the punches, and be adaptable. We also have to remember to stay true to ourselves and what we originally set out to establish with our brand.

For more information on how to develop your own personal brand, download our FREE eBook on Branding when you subscribe to our list!