In addition to your services, Gadberry stresses that your products must produce the promised results. Look closely at the words you’re using to describe services. She advises using phrases such as ‘healthy aging’ instead of ‘anti-aging’, ‘controlling acne’ instead of ‘healing acne’, and ‘sunscreen’ instead of ‘sunblock.’
To reinforce authenticity, offer your clients as much proof as possible. Consider including the following on your website or throughout your salon and spa: clinical studies, ingredient studies, before and after photos, product backgrounders, trial sizes and client testimonials.
Do you know your clients?
A recent trend in growing a brand is involving the company’s consumers in the process. “Consumer-made brands draw their consumers into their business and use them to help decide the kinds of products and services to offer and how to offer them,” says Gadberry. “Then, these consumers become very effective brand missionaries.”
A great example is Dove’s recent Campaign for Real Beauty. The pro-age campaign has captured media buzz by using real women of all shapes, ages and ethnicities in its advertising. The evolution film on www.dove.com is sweeping schools, revealing to young girls how a model’s look is distorted through both pre-shoot work and computer enhancement to create what our world considers perfect, if unrealistic, beauty. And the company’s Dream Team campaign posts essays of girls who’ve overcome a challenging self-esteem situation.
There are many ways salons and spas can incorporate their clients in brand development. The next time you revamp your services, conduct an in-depth survey of clients’ wants and needs or invite a select group to serve as a focus group. Solicit clients to serve as models for fashion shows or in advertising. When you are considering a new product line, invite some trusted clients to sample the products and offer opinions.
How to measure?
According to Fennell, there are very specific indicators that you, as a salon or spa owner, should benchmark and track that can identify specific areas where you can grow your brand. “With the ability to track these specific areas, when you spend dollars on a promotion you truly understand your return,” says Fennell. “For example, we do a new protégé promotion when our assistants hit the floor. Typically we’ll introduce them in January and February by announcing, ‘We are so confident in the quality of their color service, we’re giving it away the first time free.’”