July 2011

Steve Sleeper

Beauty Insider| by Steve Sleeper


Brand Strategy Overhaul

By Guest Writer, Julie Shepperly

(Article reprinted from PBA Progress)

Are you currently struggling, or have you ever struggled to retain great talent, meet revenue goals, establish profitability, manage a consistent marketing message, and keep your team motivated and your customers happy?

If you answered yes to any of these, you may be in need of a Brand Tune Up, or even a complete overhaul. You may ask, "What does my brand have to do with talent, sales and profit?"

Every business challenge can be linked, either directly or indirectly to your brand. We define branding as the sum total of all the information about your company, including how it ranks among your competitors and how it is communicated to the public. To get an accurate snapshot of how your brand may or may not be causing the breakdowns on your road to success, let's review the three distinct phases of brand strategy below.

Brand Promise

Your promise is your word, your bond. It is what connects who you are, the people you choose to involve yourself with, the products you choose and the services you offer.

In the past, you may have entered a business with five-star expectations, and received two-star service. When businesses break promises, credibility is lost. A hundred times more effort will be required to regain trust, as opposed to what would have been expended by keeping the promise in the first place. Does your brand promise need a tune up?

Ask yourself these questions:

If you find yourself pondering any or all of these questions, you may be in need of a tune up. Begin by focusing on establishing or refining your brand vision. A Brand Vision is how you want to be perceived by your target in the future, how your identity is communicated and how it has the potential to become the attractor factor, fueling your marketing mix. Every successful business establishes a business strategy. However, strategy that is constructed without thought to the vision of how your business brand will be perceived by both team and market is a recipe for disaster.

Brand Expectations

Once you have established your brand vision, and have worked to integrate it into your business strategy, operations and services, you are then ready to determine how to communicate that to your guests. This communication occurs in your marketing mix.

Be careful here: The last thing you want to do is attempt to be everything to everyone. Your marketing mix requires planning in two categories, internal and external marketing. It has been proven repeatedly that 20 percent of your best customers will produce 80 percent of your revenue.

However, this success rate is not guaranteed unless you allocate your marketing funds in alignment with your goals. Therefore, you should invest 80 percent of your marketing funds with your current guests. Then, the other 20 percent of your marketing budget should be spent trying to attract new guests.

Establishing a consistent and effective internal marketing plan will ensure that you are able to capitalize on those who know and love you. When shifting your attention to external marketing, be sure to keep your messages focused on a particular market segment and focus on one hook.

Brand Strategy Management

There is an old saying, "You can't manage what you can't measure." Typically, brand awareness in your target market, brand loyalty and perceptions of quality are not measured, yet they have the largest impact on the value of your brand. Therefore, it is important to manage the whole brand. The four interconnected opportunities you have to manage the value of your brand internally and externally are:

Managing each of these through statistics, surveys, focus groups, tracking, click rates, etc. is easily accomplished. Whatever methods you employ, be sure that you consistently measure and monitor their effectiveness.

Your brand is comprised of the images you convey, the messages you deliver, the interaction your team has with guests and your guests' opinions of you. Each of these can be managed successfully when you regularly take the time to tune up these three phases of your brand strategy.

Julie Shepperly currently serves as the Director of Professional Services for Milady, a part of Cengage Learning. For more information on how Milady can help your business, go to milady.cengage.com or email Julie at Julie.shepperly@cengage.com.

Don't miss Julie's featured presentation on "Building a Thriving Culture in a Changing Economy" at PBA Symposium, part of PBA Beauty Week, July 30 - August 2, 2011, in Las Vegas. Learn more at probeauty.org/beautyweek.