Consultation with Todd Shea, marketing director for Aware Personalized Branding

 Branding Your Salon's Decor

Todd Shea

Whether it's a new build-out or a renovation, there's no doubt that salon and spa owners spend months and fortunes planning and perfecting their salon design. A well-executed salon design communicates a salon's energy, attitude and vision, and it serves as an extension of its brand. Nowhere is that more important than in your retail area.

When there are too many product lines in a retail area, none of them tend to do well. For most salons, three seems to be the magical number, and those three lines should have very specific positioning. The lines you ultimately choose should connect with the vision and overall branding position of your business. Personalized branding provides you with professional products that wear your salon's brand name, establishing a definite connection between the salon decor and its retail, because your brand now appears on product packaging, merchandising displays and in collateral material.

We've discovered there is a definite environment where personalized branding really succeeds. First, the salon must have a strong retail environment that is large and prominently placed. Second, the salon needs to get the stylists behind the product and engaged in its success. Finally, the owner must have a good understanding of vertical marketing and the impact a brand can have. Vertical marketing means the salon should be branded top to bottom, from the way clients are serviced to the image of the people behind the chair.  The more items you can brand in the salon, the stronger the client identifies with the salon over the individual service provider.

There are some definite advantages to personalized branding. The salon becomes the one place a client can come to for that product-so the line drives its own foot traffic and client loyalty. There's also a certain level of prestige that comes with having your own line. Owners can set their own pricing and capture a higher profit margin. And, we've found a salon's own line can be a rallying point for the staff. It can be fun and exciting for service providers to test different products and have an impact on what is added to the product lineup. That not only lifts some of the responsibility off the owner, but now the staff members have a certain buy-in to seeing that the line is successful.

The reality is it's the stylists who sell the product. When they don't educate their customers about the products they are using and what works best for each individual, they are doing their customers a disservice. That's even more important in today's economy, where clients are seeking products with the highest quality at the best value.

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