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The latest news and industry trends

Posts tagged public relations
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. 

Making Athletes More Marketable: National Signing Day

National Signing Day Families across the country are on pins and needles today waiting for the results of National Signing Day. It can bring about a bevy of anxiety for athletes as they take a look back at their exposure with the media and their fans. Unfortunately today, it is almost impossible for a top notch athlete to go unnoticed in the media. The slightest hiccup in their life can be misconstrued and create a public persona that may not be as favorable as they would have liked. It is more important now than ever for popular athletes to remain a squeaky clean image at all times. Last week’s Super Bowl showed us just how much the public craves a marketable athlete. In countless interviews, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has expressed his disdain for speaking with the media. A man of very few words, Lynch goes into “Beast Mode” on the field, but prefers to stay away from the lights of the cameras. This year’s Super Bowl Media Day was a bit comical as Lynch was filmed repeatedly saying “I’m just here so I don’t get fined”. Lynch’s loophole to mandatory interviews provided comic relief for some of his fans, but for others drew adversarial looks. For those who have followed Lynch in the media, it is clear that his only desire is to get out there on the field and do what he loves. There are other well-known athletes that perhaps should have taken a page from Lynch’s book and refrained from making public comments as much. Athletes Michael Sam and Johnny Manziel have been publicly scrutinized for being outspoken in their personal lives and allowing the media and other onlookers to display facets of their personality that have nothing to do with the game of football. While some athletes have benefited from excessive media exposure, for someone like Michael Sam it has actually been the Achilles heel of his career. Sam argues that his public persona cost him his career, as he allowed cameras to follow him and document his life as an openly gay football player. Whether that’s true or not is still up for debate, as the public never did get a firm grip on just how much Sam would flourish on the field in his professional career. But what we do know is that had Sam not embraced opportunities to speak about his personal life that his short lived career would be debated in an entirely different bubble than the one the media allowed him to create. The road to being publicly embraced as an athlete begins very early on in an athlete’s career. It is not uncommon for people to dig into someone’s history at the slightest sign of discomfort. The very first thing the media looked for in the Ray Rice case was the background and behavioral patterns of Rice and his now wife. The two were publicly scrutinized, analyzed, and investigated with theories on their previous behavioral patterns. People want to be able to put the puzzle pieces together and figure out the core of the person they are watching on television. Just seeing their face and listening to a recap of their performance is no longer enough. People want an inside view of everything from breakfast preferences to family history in order to enjoy seeing you carry a ball. With social media networks displaying every breath we take, college athletes now have to live under the radar much more than ever. Appearances at certain events or association with certain people can make or break their careers before they even get to the draft. High School athletes must be prepared to ensure that their image is untainted from the day they step foot on a college campus. As a college athlete, trouble with the law can lead to academic and athletic suspensions, and permanent record damage that will hurt their chances at a career in professional sports. Teams across the country are increasing their affiliation with community related events and academic endeavors that will increase the appeal for their athletes in the future. Student athletes are encouraged today to build diverse resumes that will solidify a positive personal image, and ultimately lead to a longer and more successful career. Guidance from coaches, athletic support staff, and other mentors can ensure that an athlete has a firm grip on a positive future in sports.

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.