Start talking about brands and many people (include a lot of marketers) will start talking about logos and brochures and websites.
But your beauty salon brand is so much more than that – it’s the very essence of your salon. It’s the coffee you serve; your telephone manner; the cleanliness of your salon; the way your therapists dress and make themselves up. It is a big bundle of consistent experiences that create a story in the minds of your clients.
Look at one of the most successful brands in the world – McDonalds. Love ’em or hate ’em they have an incredible brand experience. You know what to expect when you go to a McDonalds whether it’s in your home town, Paris or Tokyo. It’s well priced simple fast food – nothing more and nothing less. It’s backed up by uniforms, styled restaurants, regular offers and affiliated kids meal deals and simple (but powerful) branding.
A People Business
Branding in a beauty salon is about how your brand interacts with your clients. It’s about people, with understanding the necessity of creating consistency across the board in the way this is done.
You also have to bear in mind that your business comes into touch with a client in so many ways and most of them under your control. Your customer service (people to people), your sales messaging, your salon.
There needs to be a consistency with your salon brand that balances with your aspirations for your business and I’m not talking about the generic “we want to offer great beauty treatments and a wonderful experience for our clients’ routine. All salons offer that (or say they want to).
For your beauty salon brand to stand-out, it needs something extra and that promise needs to be delivered whenever and wherever possible.
You have to be realistic with what you salon is when it comes to branding, otherwise you will have a massive disconnect between your salon and clients. If you are a high street salon, it’s not worth pretending otherwise – especially if you can not deliver too much due to financial restraints. The same applies to your location. If you are not in an affluent area, your brand needs to associate with your client base. The reverse is also true of course.
If you say luxury, people expect luxury… customer service, treatments, even toilet paper in the customer toilets.
A couple of years ago, we created a problem for ourselves in one of our (what I’d call high street) salons by doing great offers each month. We became known as the ‘offers’ salon. People would wait rather than purchase. This had nothing to do with the logo or the name… it was a mistake of our own making. And, it takes a long time to come out of the cycle.
Without buy-in from your staff and your clients, you will fail. For your brand to work, you need to define your offering in an objective way and see where the market is for what you have to offer. You can’t do this on your own. Creating brand ideals should include your therapists and even your clients. Your staff will be instrumental in delivering your brand experience, so it’s essential that they believe in it.
Ask your clients about the things they like / dislike about your salon. Perhaps offer them a voucher for half hour of their time. Don’t ask your friends, it needs to be someone who is prepared to be blunt and honest with you. From your point of view, the feedback is gold dust. It will enable you to develop your brand experience. Clients like to feel that they are part of the salon and if you hear, listen, and act on their feedback, it will make them feel even more loyal to your salon.
It’s also essential that you focus on the bigger picture stuff and let it filter down rather than getting specific. Some people find it incredibly easy to get stuck on little details. If you are a salon owner, notice when one of your therapists offers a good brand experience and tell them why.
Branding Is An Ongoing Process
Don’t think you have to get your brand perfect to start and in the same respect don’t think that you’ll ever be finished reassessing, refining and improving.
If you can establish what you stand for and what you are aiming for, you can begin to position things accordingly. Some things are free, so easy to implement. Others may be more costly, even to the extremes of a salon refit, and may take time.
But the number one priority is getting your team onboard. There are so many things that they can be doing – especially in the way they deliver treatments and deliver customer service – that will have maximum impact for little cost…. just a little discussion and training.