June 2011

Steve Sleeper

Beauty Insider| by Steve Sleeper


Check the Pulse of Your Brand

What is Your Core Point of Difference?

by Guest Writer, Kristi Valenzuela (Article reprinted from PBA Progress, the official publication of the Professional Beauty Association)

Are you one in a million, or are you just one of many? The difference between a salon that outshines its competition and a salon that blends in with the masses is how loud it shouts its uniqueness.

While repeat client retention has been holding steady the last few years at 80 percent, new client retention has dropped approximately 13 percent, showing only 25 percent of new clients are returning for a second visit.

In the game of business, whispers do not win; you have to learn to shout your brand in a way that your community will hear. The benefit of a salon that has a strong brand is increased traffic of new client visits and longer client retention; a well-known brand can also recruit and maintain a healthy salon team.

It is critical to understand what a brand is in order to develop it and use it to grow your salon. Be careful, many people have a misconception of what a brand is, start in the wrong direction, and stop developing their brand way too soon. A brand is not just a logo, it is not just slogan, a brand is ultimately your point of difference that is recognized by clients. A brand is a theme of your uniqueness that is the common thread woven through your recruitment, your team training, your menu, your team education, your marketing, your client experience systems, and your scripts. The true measurement of your brand is who your clients say you are.

Point Out Your Point of Difference…

"If you try to be everything to everyone, you'll be nothing to no one."

Your brand is your belief system, it is your values, it is your style, and it is your uniqueness. It is who you say you are, and it is who you are there for (your core group of clients). It is how you shout your difference. A great measurement of whether you are on target is asking your clients or your community, "What do you think of our salon when you drive by?" If they do not have a specific and consistent answer, your message has not been delivered.

Narrow Your Focus

"Dedicate 100 percent of your marketing to the core of your brand; never take your eye off the ball."

It is good to be narrow-minded when growing your brand and discovering whom you want to attract as your core group of clients. Set a goal that 85 percent of your clientele would consist of this market. Of course, everyone is welcome… but your look, style, training, and team performance is focused on making this core group of people feel special and connected to you.

Six Steps to Developing Your Brand Focus

1. Decide on your core group of clients or your core belief system (men, children, green / recycling, breast cancer awareness).

2. Plan your décor / dress code to complement and don't vary from your message.

3. Advertise or co-market. If you know who your client is, it is much easier to reach them.

4. Specialty Services or Special Events.

5. Scripts and Conversation

6. Promotions and Contests

When you know who you are, you will see how much easier it is to hire for your team, train your team, develop your scripts and advertise to your clients. New clients will find you faster and stay loyal longer, and that is priceless.

Kristi Valenzuela is the founder and owner of Crystal Focus Salon Coaching and also co-owner of Summit Salon Business Systems. Her programs, workshops, and training products focus on "real-life" salon solutions. For more information go to www.crystalfocus.com.

See her featured presentation "Get Focused and Make More Money From Your Front Desk" at PBA Symposium 2011, July 30 - August 2, in Las Vegas. PBA Symposium is part of PBA Beauty Week. Visit probeauty.org/beautyweek for more information.