All along, it was my intention to roll out the 2013 SALON TODAY 200 application on the date that our STAMP (SALON TODAY ANNUAL MARKETING PROGRAM) applications were due, May 31. After all, it's quickly becoming a tradition to have a SALON TODAY recognition program active at all times, and we do our best to make that happen. That being said, I also listen to my readers, and there was some requests for some changes in the ST200 application process, and that change can only come after some quiet contemplation, and for me that takes a little bit of extra time.
So a week or so after I intended, I am finally unveiling the 2013 ST200 application. (CLICK HERE to download it now.) First, thank you for your patience, and yes, about a dozen of you have emailed me, eager to get working on next year's app. Secondly, I want to point out there are some very distinct, but exciting, differences in this year's application:
Time for a Little Role Play. After totally reshaping the competition five years ago to focus on a variety of best business practices in addition to growth, we developed a series of three essay questions for each best practice category. And, while I'd try to tweak the questions a bit from year to year, a few readers voiced concern last year that for owners who entered year after year, the process was becoming monotonous and tedious. In addition, as we've seen the number of applications grow over the years, the burden of evaluating three essays for each category for each applicant was becoming a little overwhelming for our staff.
So taking a cue from this industry I adore, I decided to get creative this year, and I crafted essays that invite applicants into role-playing scenarios. For example, for Customer Service category, I'm asking applicants to convince a Ritz Carlton concierge to add their salons to the hotel's list of preferred salon partners. And, for the Recruitment and Training category, applicants are asked to convince graduating cosmetology students why their salons are best places to launch new careers.
By presenting each essay as a scenario and inviting applicant to state their best case, I narrowed the number of questions in each competition category from three to one, effectively rolling a number of questions into each scenario. Yes, in essence, we're trying to get the same information out of you—we're just taking a more creative approach. I'm hoping this makes the application process a little more interesting and exciting for salon owners, and the judging process a little easier for our editors.