I remember briefly seeing a news article about Carol’s daughter’s new marketing campaign that focuses on ‘polyethnicity’. I was reading a lovely natural hair blog called NaturallyObsessed which featured a video of the three new spokeswomen talking about hair. Steve Stoute, an executive from the company told Women’s Wear Daily:
”What we’re doing now is moving into a polyethnic space,” said Steve Stoute, chairman and lead investor of Carol’s Daughter, noting that founder Lisa Price’s brand direction has always been about inclusion, beginning with her tag line, Beauty By Nature. “We want to be the first beauty brand that truly captures the beauty of the tapestry of skin types in America. When I say polyethnic, I mean women who are made up of several ethnicity’s. If you ask them what they are, they’re going to use a lot of different words to describe themselves. That’s in line with the Census data coming out — people are checking much more than two boxes. We believe we’ve put together a shoot that celebrates many different ethnicity’s, to become a mirror of what America’s really becoming.”
Here are three reasons why I think Carol’s Daughter’s new marketing message is confusing:
 Who is the target market?: I think one mistake made here is by assuming that basing a business on polyethnicity will work for black people. I am not African-American, but I am black and I would have initially seen myself as part of the target audience to purchase Carol’s Daughter products. I am not ‘polyethnic’ (is that even a word??) and I find this new attempt to make the company less black slightly weird. I thought the whole point of Carol’s Daughter was that it was filling a gap in the hair industry as an upmarket hair company for African-Americans that helps women get healthy hair.
 The marketing: Solange, Cassie & Selite Ebanks are all gorgeous women but I still don’t understand how they are supposed to market the brand further. I think the polyethnicity thing has thrown me off because I just find it almost bewildering. It is akin to saying that African hair patterns do not exist basically. From this marketing angle, I don’t see how it is supposed to work. Will a women with thick kinky hair be able to relate to Cassie if the brand is claiming it is all things to all women.
 Niche vs Mainstream: I always saw Carol’s Daughter as a mainstream brand anyway because it is one of the biggest hair brands in the black hair care industry. It was a titan and of course still is, but within the general hair care industry, it would probably be considered as a niche brand. Is this a sign that Carol’s Daughter is trying to be too mainstream?
My thoughts are that I feel slightly alienated by this new marketing campaign. Polyethnicity means nothing to me, and I think this will hurt Carol’s Daughter’s ability to work in emerging markets such as Nigeria, Ghana because it is clearly stating it is not for black people, but for everyone.