Natural hair has become very popular among African American women, myself included, within the last ten years. Finding the hair care products needed is almost impossible. There are no commercials on main stream TV or advertisements in magazines. If you want to know anything about what products are available, the internet is your best bet. With the help of Natural Hair bloggers and the YouTube vloggers, who created their channels to share information, women with natural hair have been able to get the necessary information on what products are available to them for use. Bloggers and vloggers receive products from different companies, review them, and then share their experiences with others in the natural hair community. These smaller companies assist the bloggers and vloggers in hopes they provide an exceptional review of their product, which in turn, leads to reaching the customers of their target market. Eventually the larger companies soon saw this as a way to introduce their products as well and followed suit.
Pros of the Issue
The internet and social media have opened promotional doors for small companies such as Sundial’s Shea Moisture Hair Care Line and Mixed Chicks. These are just two companies who have a market niche in natural hair care products. By sending samples to bloggers and vloggers, customers with natural hair started to inquire about their products at the local retail stores. Not long after, initially we began to see print ads in magazines targeting African American women, like Essence, Ebony and Jet. As the market started to grow ads began appearing in more mainstream magazines like Woman’s Day, Allure, and eventually mainstream television.
Commercials began to air on stations like BET, TV One and Centric, which are geared to the African American community. A major promotional boost for these small companies came in 2010 and again in 2011as one of the largest retail chains in the country, Target, invited companies that were selling merchandise on line to come and provide a presentation on their products, with the possibly of being picked up for sale in Target stores. Target decided to showcase six natural hair care brands, placing them in prominent spots on the aisle and away from other ethnic hair products to allow them to stand out (http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/article/2013-06-20/startups-target).
With the success natural hair care product companies were having, larger companies like L’Oréal and Procter & Gamble, who ruled the $7 billion U.S. hair care market, decided to join the curl trend. Because they’ve cultivated a shared sense of identity with their customers, the smaller owned companies continue to dominate (http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/article/2013-06-20/startups-target).
Cons of the Issue
When the major hair care companies realized that natural hair for African American women was here to stay they wanted a piece of the action and jumped into the natural hair care market. With more money and larger advertising departments, the larger companies were able to hire advertising firms to produce top notch commercials and print ads to for the market. Their ads were seen on main stream television and in more main stream magazines when compared to the smaller mostly black owned companies. As these smaller companies continue to grow, hopefully so will their promotional dollars. There is a need for more commercials that will be seen by the masses.
My Position on the Issue
Being of African American decent, and also wearing my hair natural, I remember at the start of my journey the problem of not being able to find products or should I say, the right products to care for my hair. This took me to the internet and YouTube where there are lots of people promoting products for natural hair care. Products are being used and reviewed for both the smaller companies and some of the larger ones. I would love to see more promotion from both sizes of companies on main stream basic television.
As the natural hair community continues to grow, the need for products will also grow. By not advertising across all spectrums of ad media, companies are missing a whole target market. I purchase most of the things I do, because I either have seen a commercial or by word of mouth. Perreault, Cannon & McCarthy (2010) tell us that “Promotion is communicating information between the seller and potential buyer or others in the channel to influence attitudes and behavior.”
Dwoskin, E. (2013, June 20). Yale and Evin Bloomberg | Violin | Home. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/article/2013-06-20/startups-target Perreault, Jr., W. D., Cannon, J. P., & McCarthy, E. J. (2010). Promotion-Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communications. In Essentials of Marketing (12th ed., p. 322). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.