Billingslea Media
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The latest news and industry trends

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March Goals

 

The beginning of the year came and went like a flash of lightning. It’s hard to believe that it’s already March and we are getting close to the end of the 1st Quarter. If you haven’t hit all of your business goals yet, don’t worry...there is still time to regroup and accomplish some valuable things for the sake of your business.

A lot of people get overwhelmed because they either create goals that are unrealistic for completion within a certain time frame or not specific enough to keep you on track for completion. As the age old business model says, Goals should be S.M.A.R.T : Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely.  Declaring that you want to make $100,000 for the year is totally doable. But saying “I want to make 100,000 this year” but not knowing what products and services you are going to sell, how much you are selling them for, and who you are selling them to is unrealistic and sets you up for disappointment.

Even your small goals should be realistic. They should be related to the overall bottom line within your business. If your goal is to move to a brick and mortar location, it should be tied to a “why”. Will moving to a physical location help increase your sales? Will it give you more foot traffic? Don’t make a plan to move to a physical location just because you think it “looks” like a good idea. Create the goal to move because it is tied to something that benefits your business. Once you’ve decided on that goal, figure out the action steps to get you there, and make sure that they are SMART goals.

This is the perfect time for Spring Cleaning your business. In the next couple of days take an assessment of your business, its operations systems, and how well your products and services are doing. Figure out what areas need improvement, and what you can do to ensure that growth is taking place. Engage in activities that are strategic in helping you fine tune your business.

What things do you need to spring clean in your business? What areas need some special attention?

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Instagram Users Question Future of Leadership
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Nothing in the business world happens abruptly. It just seems abrupt to the general public. This week Instagram Executives resigned, leaving Instagram’s leadership up in the air. But according to inside sources, the shift didn’t happen overnight. Since purchasing Instagram in 2012 Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook initiated a host of changes on the social media platform; including embedded connections to user’s Facebook pages, notifications from Facebook, and the addition of Facebook’s executives assuming key roles at Instagram’s headquarters.

Users of the media sharing platform have also complained about changes in the algorithm, unwanted notifications, and saying that they have felt “forced” into using Facebook and sharing on their platform. So what’s next for the social media platforms? Users worry that Instagram will automatically adopt unwanted changes brought upon by the team at Facebook. Check out more of the Instagram debate as reported by TheVerge.com


3 Benefits of a Written Marketing Plan
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Developing industry specific marketing plans can be difficult to achieve with little to no direction. Just like a business plan gets you set up for strategic growth, a marketing plan serves much of the same purpose. While some may think that you can mix and match marketing methods as you go along, it is always much more efficient to develop your plan of attack well in advance. Your marketing plan should serve as the companion piece to your business and financial plans.

Marketing plans are not a one-size fits all scenario. Your plan should be specific to your industry, as well as your time in the business. It brings you clarity, structure, and most of all - more effective marketing. Here are a couple of the benefits of having a written marketing plan for your business.

Gain Clarity

  •  A written plan helps you gain the clarity you need to expand your business with effective marketing strategies. It takes your original business plan and stretches it out in a way that shows your creativity in a structured manner. As a companion piece to your business plan, it lays out the specifics of your business plan and assigns a marketing task to each area. It also shows you where your challenges may lie within reaching your target market, and how you should address a financial plan of attack.

Track Your Methods

  • A lot of people approach marketing without a strategy. They throw a couple of things at the wall and see what sticks, then get frustrated when they don't see a return. A written marketing plan helps you keep track of what you've done. It gives you a clear view of what has worked, what hasn't, and how much time and money has been put into it. Are you delivering things to your target market that actually address their wants and needs? If not, how do you change that? What new techniques can you use to better serve them?

Establish Company Culture

  • What better way to help your employees learn about your company culture than to have it in writing? Although you may think that you've expressed the core of your company culture and brand values, it is can easily be misconstrued by an outside party. Instead of assuming that employees know how to represent your brand, why not feel comfortable in knowing that they are clear on how to represent your brand. You can even ask for feedback through meetings and forums, and incorporate that data into a working plan for your employees. 

No matter the industry, your marketing efforts should be tailored to fit your specific needs. Just because a similar business has had success with a given marketing tactic doesn't mean that your business will enjoy that same success. It takes time, introspection, and documentation to get together a proven formula for success that can grow with your company.

Don't take chances on missing the mark with your marketing. Contact us today for a consultation on developing a targeted marketing plan for your business.

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.