Social Listening & Talking to Your Community is Important For Your Brand Especially During a Crisis

@SheaMoisture apology following ad on “hair hate” on Instagram

Shea Moisture’s campaign that was aimed at inclusion of all types of women failed to represent their core audience, women of color. The issue with the campaign, seemed as if, the brand was moving away from women of color and moving forward with white women. This created an uproar on Twitter where women who were not represented in the commercial expressed their concerns. These women felt like they were being betrayed by a company where they thought they belonged to.

After the new campaign launched, by 5 pm 33,000 Tweets criticized Shea Moisture for canceling out women of color in a campaign about “hair hate” featuring white women. The commercial was taken down by 6 pm, according to Jack Neff. Shea Moisture acknowledged that they “f-ed” big time. As a result, they took to Instagram and wrote a long apology to their audience to let them know that the ad was taken down. Also, letting them know that the ad did not represent what they intended to do with the commercial.

Shea Moisture upset many people and managed it in a way that let their audience know that they are sorry and actively listening to them. As stated on their Instagram apology “Real Talk”, they listened to the feedback about the advertisement. The issue was not recognizable by the Shea team until it was brought to light by the loyal customers of the brand. They set aside a section of their apology, basically letting their audience know that they come first. Shea lets the audience know that without them they wouldn’t be where they are today using phrases, such as, “We hear you”, “We count on you”, “Thank you #SheaFam, for being there for us, even when we make mistakes.”

Shea took responsibility and explained what will be changed from here on out with Shea Moisture Ads. Shea explained in the apology on Instagram that, “we must absolutely ensure moving forward that our community is well-represented in each one so that the women who have led this movement never feel that their hair journey is minimized in any way,” (@sheamoisture).

Overall, how Shea Moisture handled this crisis particularly well. They acknowledged that their new Ad did not include all women as they intended to do so. They apologized to all of their audience, especially their core audience of women of color, who are faced with a difficult journey concerning hair. Shea Moisture put their audience first before the company and made sure to let their audience know their voice has been heard.

Additionally, to the Instagram post, a different approach Shea Moisture could have done to resolve this crisis would be to have set up a crisis FAQ so that all the information about the crisis was in one place. At the bottom of the apology, they could have added a link to this web page to allow consumers to ask questions and receive a clear answer. Or, instead of posting the lengthy apology on Twitter, Shea Moisture could have posted it on Twitter. Because that was where 33,000 tweets showed light to the backlash of their ad.

When creating a campaign, responding to a crisis, and producing new material on social, it is important for a brand to stay true to the brand’s style and voice on social media. Have a social media plan in place just in case a crisis ever does occur. Your brand will have steps in place to be able to tackle the crisis properly and will be ready when/if the event ever does occur.


Le, Mai. “PR Crisis Comms in Action: Top 7 Social Media Fires of 2017 (So far)” Meltwater. Posted 27 June 2017. Accessed 30 October 2018.

Neff, Jeff. “Slammed On Twitter, Shea Moisture Pulls AD Seen As MOving Brand Away From Black Women.” AdAge. Published 24 April 2017. Accessed 30 October 2018.

Shea Moisture. “Wow, okay — so guys, listen, we really f-ed this one up.” Instagram. 2017.

Victorian, Brande, “Real Talk — Shea Moisture.” Madamenoire. 25 April 2017. Accessed 30 October 2018.

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