Branding is all about how you present yourself to the world: clients, employees, suppliers, and anyone who might influence potential customers. Through your salon's brand and marketing, you can guide people's perceptions of your business and influence their decision to visit your salon.
As you develop or evolve your brand, the first step is to determine your brand message. How can you relate to your target clientele? And once you reach them, what do you want them to associate with your business?
As you may expect, your brand should tell clients what you can do for them and how you are different from your competitors. You could create the most recognized and liked brand, but it won't get you any business if people don't even realize you are a hair salon.
Many of the most successful brands sell more than the service and products they provide; they offer hope, emotions, and aspirations. In the beauty industry, you're not merely giving a hair cut or manicure. Instead, you are building clients' self-esteem or opening doors to a more vibrant lifestyle. Spas are about an escape from life's realities, a moment for guests to focus on themselves.
Achieving the perfect hairstyle is important to clients, however the key to client retention is in the people and culture of your salon. People prefer companies that provide great service and that embody a set of values similar to their own.
In order to showcase your culture, craft vision and mission statements and list a few of your salon's values as well. Psychology Today explains that your vision should tell what you want to achieve over time (e.g. the go-to salon destination for women to look great and feel great) while the mission statement should say how you are working to reach that goal (e.g. providing chic hairstyles to women with high-quality products, innovative techniques, and outstanding service).
Another aspect to your salon brand messaging is the personality. What type of voice or tone does your salon have? While it may seem like a silly exercise, it can go a long way to help you engage your target audience. If you want to relate more to millennials, you may want to be more upbeat and casual using abbreviations and contractions (e.g. "can't" instead of "can not" or "we're" instead of "we are")? For a more professional clientele, you may want to be more conservative and formal with proper punctuation and grammar.
Your brand's personality can also help guide the topics you discuss, whether to clients sitting in the salon chair or on your social media feeds. A sports-themed barbershop might tweet about the local sports team but this may not be an engaging post for an upscale salon to discuss (unless a client brings it up first).
Whether you are greeting a loyal client when they walk in, engaging a potential customer on Facebook, or interviewing a stylist for a vacant position, this personality should be displayed throughout your salon’s interactions.
With the messaging in place, the next step is to determine how you can get the message across clearly.
From the way your salon interior looks to how stylists deal with clients, everything should present a similar message about your salon. Consider the entire customer experience – the moment someone opens your website or steps into your salon, when you’re coloring a client's hair, and as you continue to engage them after their visit.
By looking at your promotional materials or photos of your salon, people will form an impression of your business likely before they even interact with anyone. The logo, colors, shapes, styles, and content should coordinate with your brand personality and messaging.
To increase brand awareness, place your logo, contact details and some of your messaging in your salon marketing. Hand out business cards or referral cards to existing clients. Sponsor or exhibit at local events. Advertise in high-traffic areas and online. On your website and Facebook Page, publish your vision and mission statements, post information about your stylists and employees, and share client testimonials.
Your salon team needs to buy in to your brand as stylists should be presenting themselves in ways that align with the salon culture. Engage them in the process of developing your brand, and also enforce it as the manager or owner. Review your hiring methods to make sure you hire the right people who will embody the salon's culture.
The products and services you sell all need to align with your brand as well. Consider if your offerings help to achieve your vision and agrees with your values. Especially when adding services, careful thought and consideration must be given to weigh the potential consequences of diluting your brand or alienating clients.
By constructing and implementing a brand consistently, you can guide consumers to think a certain way. Make sure that your brand identity is realistic and is reflected in everything you do. Be careful not to set customers’ expectations so high that you can’t meet it.