December 2008

Kerrin Delaney

Marketing Solutions | by Gabrielle Slanina


“Paying It Forward” this Season

With the holidays comes the spirit of giving — giving gifts, giving thanks and giving back.

People tend to contribute more constantly and consistently during this time of year, so it is the perfect opportunity for salons to join in on paying it forward. Whether it is contributing toward your local community, the beauty industry or a worldwide effort, make this year the year to have your salon give back.

Participating in fundraising efforts is effective in many ways. Raising awareness for a special cause makes staff members and clients more familiar and knowledgeable about the cause. Raising funds allows you to assist in future initiatives for your charity effort. Not only will you be making a mark through philanthropy, you will also develop client loyalty and strengthen your professional business image.

Contributing Close To Home: When selecting which charitable cause to assist, consider the personal investments of your staff, clients and community. People are more likely to give back to issues that directly affect their lives on a personal level. Whether it is supporting troops overseas, raising awareness for cancer or simply promoting community involvement in schools, there is a personal issue for your salon.

Once you and your staff have decided where you would like to make your mark, contact the organization and let them know of your giving-back promotion. The reason for this is two-fold. First, the group may want to have final approval on any promotional and advertising materials you display in the salon or elsewhere. Second, the group will be able to send people to your salon who inquire about getting involved—increasing business and exposure while motivating participation in the promotion.

Contributing Nationally: If you decide to steer away from local efforts and want to get involved nationally, look for philanthropy campaigns established by other organizations. Each fall, SO.CAP. USA Hair Extensions hosts their annual Pink Hair for Hope project. The project promotes awareness for the National Breast Cancer Foundation through pink hair extensions.

By joining an established campaign such as this, your salon will be part of a larger initiative, which promotes teamwork and solidarity. By contributing to an established charity, additional clients will donate because of name recognition and commitment.

Offer Incentives for Giving Back: People are often likely to donate to just one or two causes unless they feel they are receiving something in return. Turn your efforts into a holiday promotion by offering special service and product deals. Offer multiple options to give clients a chance to choose a promotion that best matches their needs. You will also increase salon revenue by encouraging more retail purchases and booking more appointments.

You can promote incentives through point-of-purchase counter cards and advertisements. You may also want to consider placing smaller counter cards at each hairstylists station so every client will see them. This is a great way to encourage your salon team to discuss why and how you chose your particular charity and what your individual goals are with this giveback promotion.

Spread the Generosity Throughout the Year: Even though the holidays are prime time for charity efforts, keep the spirit alive throughout the next year. Clients will be curious to know how their contributions added up so be sure to relay this information visually. Once your giveback promotion is completed, create a banner in your salon announcing the total funds raised and how the funds will contribute to your service organization. Also, simply sending a thank-you note or postcard to all who participated in the event will keep the organization and your promotion at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

As the spirit of giving grows, you may want to consider other promotions throughout the rest of the year. By coordinating with charity efforts seasonally or participating in national initiatives, it will show that you are dedicated to making a difference.

Challenge your salon team and clients annually to raise more funds every year. Keep a record of the results from each of your giveback promotions, including how much was raised, how many people participated and what incentives were most encouraging. Set goals each year, such as doubling your total funds or the amount of people who participate.

It is the beauty industry’s job to help people look their best. This year, go beyond that and make people feel their best. There are many opportunities for salons to become involved in paying it forward, and there is no better time then the present. Give the gift of making a difference.

Gabrielle Slanina is a marketing coordinator at Marketing Solutions, a full service marketing, advertising, graphic design and PR agency specializing in the professional beauty industry. For more information, call 703-359-6000, e-mail or visit