Shea Moisture, the popular black founded hair care company released their new #Breakthewalls marketing campaign which was focused on diversifying and desegregating hair care products and how they are presented in retail stores.
The company released a promo video for their campaign that highlighted the struggles of different hair textures and hair colors.
The Problem: The ad misrepresented their core consumer base: black women with natural hair by describing their issues while presenting a new demographic: white women.
After being released, the ad received an out pour of negative feed back from the company's loyal consumer base. Consumers took to social media to voice their outrage and stance on the ad. 1000's of Youtube videos were posted urging people to stop using Shea Moisture products for not representing their loyal consumer base in the ad. The hashtag #shemoisture is full of memes and posts publically bashing the brand.
Yesterday the company, officially released an apology for the ad.
What we as small business owners can learn from Shea Moisture's mistake: It's simple know your consumer base, their demographics, and cater to them religiously even if you chose to expand or reach a new audience. If it is your goal to be a luxury brand, but you currently are not, but you have a following that supports and patronizes your business do not forget that when you feel that you are ready to switch things up. Big changes need to be done gradually and intentionally.
Here are a few ways to prevent incidents like this with your small business:
1. Track your demographics: make sure that you know who is buying for you. We (marketers) put a huge emphasis on who you are marketing to, but don't forget to focus your attention on who your actual buyer is because you never want to lose them as a customer or a supporter.
2. Demo your ads or marketing campaigns to test group before your launch or beta test: Gather a small group of consumers, some that are in your target market and some that are not and let them provide feedback on your ad or product. This will prevent a widespread blunder like we're seeing with Shea Moisture.