Yesterday, Lisa Price announced that she reached a deal with L’Oreal in the acquisition of her brand, Carol’s Daughter.
While there were tons of tweets and posts on this being an awesome milestone for Ms. Price, I could not ignore the social media mentions of fear of what this will do to the quality of the products.
This is certainly a win for L’Oreal – the largest cosmetics company in the world – as it gets a piece of the multi billion dollar natural hair care industry and its [black and brown] consumers.
This is certainly a win for Lisa Price – an entrepreneur – as she is now gets to SELL the business organization she has built over the last three decades. Her brand now gets the power and strength of a brand conglomerate with plenty of experience underneath its belt to expand upon what she has built.
But is this a win for the CONSUMER?
While we don’t fully know the terms of this purchase, I can tell you that the twitter conversation above reflects a major concern when
a historically white brand purchases a black-n-brown one there is a brand merger or acquisition.
Here’s a quote that so succinctly makes the point: “Mergers and acquisitions create uncertainty for consumers so post-merger /acquisition messages and initiatives should focus on providing a sense of security. All to often, messaging focuses on how great the merger is for the company rather than the consumer. In other words, a press release, online video of the CEO talking about the merger, and an ad saying “XYZ Brand” is now a part of the “ABC Brand Family” is insufficient. Instead, companies that acquire brands should conduct research to learn what messages will best resonate with the consumer audience to motivate them to not only understand the merger, but also to support it.” – Susan Gunelius
Here’s a link to Ms. Price’s video announcement.
Here’s a link to L’Oreal’s press release.
Yep, that’s all we got.
So, while L’Oreal and Ms. Price figure out what messaging they are going to deliver to assure the very loyal Carol’s Daughter customer base that this takeover won’t negatively impact product quality and selection, I ask that you reflect on this quote from Ms. Price – ironically published on the day of the acquisition announcement.
If you see more messaging from these companies, please post a link to it in the comments!
UPDATE!!! So, Afrobella, the godmother of brown beauty blogging, sat down in an exclusive interview with Lisa Price. You may read the entire article on Afrobella’s blog here.
But, what I want to focus on is this excerpt from the article:
“I had a chance to catch up with Lisa Price last week when she was in Chicago, visiting the Ulta corporate HQ (she’s always on the go)! It was the day after the news hit, and she had just begun to see some of the comments online. I had to ask her how that made her feel, to see the response from people who had been supporters of the brand for the past two decades downcry her decision. Did it make her angry? Or sad?
“I’m more sad at so much lack of understanding. But what I’ve found is, with the few people I’ve chosen to speak to directly, there are some people who sounded like they were concerned and worried…when I addressed them directly and wrote to them and clarified their comment, all of a sudden they take a completely different stance,” she said. Lisa cited a few cases where her online critics went from slamming her and her brand, to expressing admiration and appreciation when she addressed them directly. For the record, she’s seen quite a bit of the negative feedback and took the time to address several of the specific criticisms leveled against her and her brand.”
– She was sad at the lack of understanding…
– She’s had to take time to address the criticisms…
– What she’s learned is that by addressing people directly and engaging with them, they take a different stance.
This interview supports my initial point that the press release and video blurb was wholly insufficient in communicating the brand acquisition. One cannot leave the consumer out of the conversation in 2014. One-way messaging is no longer a viable practice unless the ultimate goal is backlash. I suggest Ms. Price and her leadership team work hard to involve the consumer with what is going on and assure that product quality will not wane. This shouldn’t be done with mere lip service, but rather by being creative in providing concrete information that will put consumers at ease. It is fool hearted for a brand to want the consumer to remain loyal when it doesn’t earn it via authentic conversation with the consumer.
If you see any more messaging about this brand acquisition, let me know in the comments.