To say that the beauty and wellness space is crowded would be an understatement.
So, what’s a salon and spa owner to do?
A great first step is to brand yourself correctly.
And that is exactly what we’ll discuss below. This post sheds light on 7 spa and salon branding tips that’ll help you elevate your position in the market.
What is Spa and Salon Branding?
First things first. What does branding mean for salon and spas? While there are plenty of definitions out there, one of our favorites comes from Daniel Mason Jones, a celebrity stylist and the owner of Muse Salon and Spa.
“[Branding is] who you are,” he said in his insightful talk at ISSE 2020. “Branding is everything from the writing, to the fonts that you use, the colors you use in your background, the personality behind it… everything is branding.”
With that definition in mind, it goes without saying that every spa and salon owner should invest the time and effort in nailing their brand.
Let’s look at some of the ways that you can do that.
1. Know Who You Are and Who You’re Doing It For
If you’re unsure of how to brand yourself, Daniel suggests asking the following questions:
- What do you love to do?
- Who do you love to do it for?
- How can you get more of it?
This will allow you to get clear on your messaging and target audience, so you can then create the types of content that will resonate with your ideal clientele.
One of the worst things you can do is be “all over the place” with your branding, as this will lead to inconsistent messaging that’ll end up confusing your audience. And as Daniel said, “When you confuse people, you lose people.”
Don’t make that mistake.
Before launching your brand, see to it that you’ve answered the 3 questions above and that you’ve tailored your approach to the right audience.
2. Get a Feel for How Your Clients and Employees Perceive Your Brand
Another way to gain clarity into what your brand is all about is to discover how others see you. You can easily do this by surveying your audience.
This is one of the top branding tips that Daniel shared with his audience at ISSE.
“When was the last time you polled your customers to find out how they see your brand? That’s massive,” he said.
He recommended creating an online survey and sending it to your top 20 clients.
You can ask questions like:
- How do you see the brand?
- What is something you’d like to see enhanced in the brand?
- What is something that makes you feel special when you come inside [the business]?
And don’t stop there, advised Daniel. Take things a step further by polling your own employees.
“We do that with our staff,” he shared.
He shares that they will print out anonymous surveys so the staff can honestly evaluate the leadership and owners of the company.
The survey contains questions like:
- How’s our performance?
- How’s our leadership?
- Are you inspired?
- Are we meeting your expectations?
The input that you get from your team can be invaluable. As Daniel put it, “sometimes you get real answers. Sometimes you need them.”
3. Tap Into Your Life Stories
Part of branding yourself effectively is showing people who you are.
To do that, you need to tell authentic stories. Let people in on your journey, share your experiences, and the lessons that shaped who you are.
Drawing from your own experiences will enable you to convey authenticity and you will be a much more compelling figure because of it.
Take Keya Neal, a stylist, influencer, and the founder of the Texture Vs Race movement. Keya is a prominent speaker and educator who has a brand message that resonates with thousands of people in the beauty industry.
Her secret lies in her capacity to tap into her own life stories.
“My power comes from the ability to pull from my own experiences. I don’t talk about things that I have not lived, things I have not done,” she said.
Keya added that it’s important to anticipate the needs of your audience. According to her, those who’d like to impart knowledge “need to start educating from the perspective of the crowd and the person they’re trying to reach.”
“When I teach, as well as when I speak, I’m thinking ‘What part of this is she going to ask me?’ I’m trying to attack a question before it’s even asked. I’m trying to give the answer before they ask me.”
Follow Keya’s lead in your own branding efforts. Leverage your personal experiences and figure out how you can add value to your audience.
4. Lead by Example
Having a solid brand isn’t just about the right messaging and market positioning. The actions you take also play a big role in branding. As the saying goes, you should walk the talk.
“Having the right attitude is essential because your actions often carry more weight than your words,” explained Daniel.
“Have you ever seen somebody who’s super positive or super inspirational [online]… and then you meet them and they’re totally not?”
Don’t be that person he said. Strive to be authentic in your branding efforts, and see to it that your activities across all channels and outlets (i.e., online and in-person) are aligned.
“People see you all the time. You have to be a leader everywhere you go,” he added.
“No matter what you’re doing inside your company, you’re leading. Shampoo experience, guest experience, nail experience… It’s leadership, it’s a brand. So, make sure that you’re staying consistent.”
5. Set up a Team and Infrastructure to Support Your Brand
There’s a lot that goes on behind-the-scenes when you’re building a salon or spa brand.
In her interview with Nina Kovner, the Chief Awesomeness Empowerer at Passion Squared, Keya said that one of the things she wished she knew when she started out was how to build a team and set up a system to support her brand.
“I wish I knew how to build an infrastructure before I did it… I wish I knew I would lead so many people,” she said.
Keya added that there’s a lot of work that goes into the art of building a brand, especially on social media. There’s content creation, publishing, and audience engagement. There are several moving parts, and you need to think about these things when you’re marketing yourself.
Nina echoed the sentiment and added, “You are building a brand. And it can be big or small, but there’s still infrastructure attached to that. There’s still marketing attached to that. There’s still a business model attached to that. There’s sales attached to that. There’s inventory, there’s everything.”
So, remember Keya and Nina’s advice when implementing your initiatives. Recognize that behind every powerful brand is a team and infrastructure that keeps everything running smoothly.
6. Bring Your Brand to Life in Your Spa or Salon
Your physical space — i.e., spa or salon — plays a pivotal role in your branding efforts. You need to design your space so that it’s consistent with the message you want to convey.
If you’re all about women empowerment, for instance, then your place of business should make women feel motivated and inspired. Or if you want to position yourself as a high-end salon and spa, then your space should have a luxurious feel to it.
For example, Daniel, who owns Muse Salon and Spa, wants his business to be perceived as high-end, so he designed his location accordingly.
“Our salon, when you walk in, is super classy, it’s super professional. Our brand smells insane. The minute you walk into the doors, it’s lemongrass. There’s a screen that greets you when you walk into the door… because I live in the digital age.”
He continued, “guest experience coordinators will greet you; they take your information, they get you a robe, they ask you what beverage you would prefer. If it’s your first time, they give you a two-minute tour of our company — what it looks like, what we do.”
Daniel and his team go all out in creating a business experience that’s in line with Muse’s brand — and you should, too. This doesn’t mean you should copy what he’s doing; instead, drill down on what your business is all about, and see to it that your physical space and the people in it embody your brand to the tee.
7. Make Sure Your Social Feed Reflects Your Brand
The same goes for your social media accounts. Curate your feed in such a way that when your friends, fans, and followers see your posts, they know exactly what your brand is about.
That’s one of the key pieces of advice that stylist and educator Presley Poe shared at ISSE.
“Remember that your feed itself is like your own magazine. How do you want it to read? How do you want the energy of the feed [to be like]? What’s the feel of it? When someone looks at your body of work, what do you want them to take away from it?”
She added, “I want mine to have individualism. I want it to look expensive, I want it to look current, and I want it to look high-end. So I hope that when people look at my feed, they’ll accept that before they even make that consultation that they are going to spend money.”
Follow Presley’s advice when you’re branding yourself on social media.
Once you’ve identified what your brand is and the audience to which you’re speaking, scroll through your feed and ask yourself if your posts reflect the image you want to portray. If the answer is no, then start curating a feed that’s on-brand.
Final Words: It’s All About the Experience
If there’s one thing we can take away from this post, it’s this: your brand experience is everything.
Whether you’re welcoming someone into your location, talking to a client on the phone, or sharing your story on social media, strive to always be on-brand and find ways to create experiences that people won’t soon forget.
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