Tag Archives: a basic understanding of business

Black Women vs Shea Moisture

For several days I’ve been observing the Shea Moisture public relations nightmare. The reaction on social media has sparked so much of what I wrote about in my book Breaking Through The Black Ceiling. Here are my thoughts about the situation:
  • This isn’t the first time Shea Moisture has “offended” people of color, it’s just the first time some people noticed. The company previously had an ad featuring a white baby which also caused an uproar.

 

  • Although I feel Shea Moisture had a disproportionate number of people of color represented in their recent ad, as a black business owner, I (still) wonder why people of color don’t think we (black business owners) should be allowed to earn revenue from consumers that don’t look just like us . Money is green and necessary for businesses to operate. That’s a fact. Businesses don’t exist for likes, the actually plan to make profits unless they structure themselves as a not for profit organization. White owned companies make revenue off of black people everyday. Many black people work for such companies and use their products daily. Let that marinate.

 

  • Hair care products are primarily marketed to WOMEN, who have a combined $5 TRILLION in spending power in the USA alone, so a smart business owner in the hair care business, who knows this would want to target ALL women in their ads. Several companies do. Loreal does it. In fact, if you open the May 2017 ESSENCE Magazine (a popular monthly publication which celebrates women of color), Loreal has paid for a 2 page FOUNDATION ad that includes several women of all races and complexions, along with a…      wait for it …..      Black MAN.  And before you get mad about that, men often need makeup applied when they’re ACTORS and MODELS. Contrary to what you see on social media, everybody isn’t perfected by the use of Photoshop. To me the ad makes sense.

Loreal cosmetics knows their products, and those of their competitors are used in film, television, theater and may be used by men, including make up artists.

As a woman, I’m not at all offended. As a business owner I’m not mad at Essence Magazine for securing that bag. There’s nothing to see here. It’s business. And it’s not bad business

  • Yes, Shea Moisture messed up in their casting process, and someone there should have insisted on having more diversity represented, prior to or after seeing the ad, however Carol’s Daughter also has women who aren’t black in their recent ads for their products. Are we going to get mad about that too, or naw?

 

  • The right to solely use products including ingredients such as shea butter, cocoa butter or castor oil are not exclusively reserved to black folks. In fact, if you make such products and only target black people as consumers, you’re greatly limiting the amount of revenue you could potentially make, doing your business a disservice. Black business owners SHOULD capitalize and profit off of our greatness too and that means thinking GLOBALLY instead of locally in some instances.
For the record, United Airlines is still winning the PR fuckery of the year award. Pepsi is still in second place. Shea Moisture is like #6 or something, bit they’re definitely not on the top 5. The mistake they made doesn’t hurt anyone directly, physically, financially or minimize important social issues with the assistance of a Kardashian. It was a bad idea, that can also serve as a wake up call towards something more important; how women of color make changes to address a lack of diversity. 
Instead of complaining on social media and “modeling” on Instagram, some women of color who aspire be seen for likes should show up for the next casting call held by Shea Moisture and make a difference that way – by going out for the opportunity to positively represent diversity. And more women of color should become educated to work in the business fields related to advertising and marketing so they can apply for the jobs that make those decisions in the marketplace.

The lesson from this issue to women of color is become the change you want to see in the world and secure a bag in the process. Otherwise, diversity will not be the goal for a lot of companies, including ones you’re already consumers of.

This Media Thing Is Not A Game

I’m often proud of others that I see reaching and striving in media to improve upon the content that we have available to us. Then there are times when I have to ask myself “Where do they do that at?” Being an entrepreneur is hard work. It’s often challenging and the rewards don’t come as fast as you might like, and they are definitely not the rewards you may set out to achieve. Being a media entrepreneur is even more difficult. You have greater challenges because media is already heavily controlled by major networks and radio giants that have been around for years.

This media thing is not a game.

Print media is a strange animal in its own separate environment. With so many magazines being born and dying regularly due to poor business decisions, it’s very important that you have more than a pretty magazine cover. You must also have relevant, substantive, well written content in a magazine. This is primarily important if you want to appeal to people who actually know how to read. Unless of course, your magazine publication is only a pictorial, pretty pictures might be enough for your audience.

As I look around at some of the ventures being put out, I notice that a lot of them don’t understand how to properly do business. Some editors are so quick to get something out there that they fail to do their due diligence with securing their content. They have pretty websites with blank pages, misspelled words, broken or unresponsive links and poor grammar throughout the site. They are trying to establish followers using social networking without a product actually being made available that people can put their hands on. You can’t even Google their publication by name. Some of them have literally relaunched the same magazine multiple times within less than three years because they just don’t seem to get it.  They also don’t know how to tackle the challenges associated with the digital era where people can download and read publications on laptops, tablets and smartphones. I solemnly swear that one day people will learn how to use technology for more than just updating their Facebook status.   

◊ This media thing is not a game.  

We have to do better when it comes to the products and services that we provide in media, particularly within our own community. We also have to be more savvy in our business dealings. You don’t have to charge an arm and a leg for your product because you want to have special paper from China. You can put out a quality media product by using local resources available to you for a fraction of the cost and not have to worry about your product being delayed by customs. A few of the keys to doing well in the media business include having a basic understanding of business, having knowledge of your core demographic and how to reach them, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and building a talented team of people who aren’t your relatives. Most importantly – be different from what everyone else is. If you appear to just be a  recycled version of your former publication or someone else’s, without bringing something new into the equation, people will lose interest quickly…as in overnight.

◊ This media thing is not a game.  

This media thing is only for strong, decisive people who know how to compensate for anything they lack by having other talented and knowledgeable people connected to them. It’s not about being a dictator and having everyone report back to you so that you can micromanage every facet; particularly when you have no idea of what you’re doing. It’s not about doing the same thing over and over, the same way and expecting different results [that is the definition of insanity]. This media thing is about dispersing information in a way that educates and entertains people intelligently so that you appeal to a wider demographic ~ i.e. the people who make money and make decisions. This media thing is about providing quality content that does more than create divisiveness and drama among individuals. This media thing is more than scripted reality television shows and poorly written material thrown out with the hopes that one percent of the population will like it. This media thing isn’t just about making money, putting your name on a masthead or cutting down trees for the purpose of nothing.  

◊ This media thing is not a game.  

Personally, I’m looking forward to hiring other talented people to work for The Brand so that one day I can take a real vacation. I’m aware that without hiring others, I won’t experience the true growth and success that I’m striving for. I’m thankful for the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals that have worthwhile projects that I can collaborate with them on; both today and in the near future. Growth isn’t singular when you’re a media entrepreneur. Your growth, or lack thereof, impacts others, even when you don’t see it.  

◊ This media thing is not a game.  

An idea is only as good as the work you put behind it. If you’re into this media thing as a hobby, that is your choice. But if you are in this media thing purpose driven, make it worth the time, energy and money for yourself and for consumers. This playground is big enough for many of us to be successful, but this media thing is not a game. If you’re not ready, I suggest that you do your due diligence, research and observe others who are successful and do well in media before throwing yourself in the ring.   

Some people only care about their check, and some people care about sh** being the right way. – Jam Master DJ Scratch