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Building a Better Brand

Brand names are booming. Hundreds of times a day, we're bombarded with messages from manufacturers such as Coca-Cola, Prada and Volkswagen telling us what they're all about in a distinct, impressionable way. But in the salon business, the things you market are services that "happen" to consumers as they purchase them. They don't have a logo stuck on them, so it's harder to make that brand stick in clients' minds. Yet there is a huge amount of client loyalty to salons and spas: Customers expect a consistent type of experience, from the music you play to the way your treatment rooms smell to the way you answer your phones. These are all part of your identity. By setting standards and sticking to them, you will help establish yourself as a consistent, reliable brand. Here Michael DeVellis, president and founder of The Powder Group, tells how.

BUILD YOUR BRAND AROUND YOUR PERSONAL STORY

It's unrealistic—and difficult—to try to be all things to all people. It's important to realize your brand won't suit everyone, and you shouldn't expect it to. Instead, never lose sight of who you are and what you are trying to be with your customers; determine what your mission is, build your brand around it, and stick with it.

CHOOSE YOUR NAME WISELY

When branding your business, your name is vitally important to your message and its ability to be effectively branded. If you are a high-end salon in a high-rent neighborhood with a high-income clientele, a name like Cheap Cuts is going to get you nowhere fast. Likewise, a business whose name seems too high-end for its market or client base will send a negative message to someone looking for a less expensive stylist. A strong name that means something is one of the best weapons you can have in the battle of the brands, so choose it well.

TELL YOUR STORY AND TELL IT OFTEN

Knowing you have a brand to share does you no good if no one knows about it. Start with your staff: Make sure they are perfectly clear about the message you want your brand to send. Then shout it loud and clear, through the way you conduct your business, in the energy and attitude of yourself and your team.

PUT YOUR LOGO TO WORK

Use consistent fonts and colors across the board, whether you are using it on your Web site, counter displays, business cards or on your front door. Also put your logo in clear view of potential new customers; it helps create curiosity about you and your brand.

ASSESS YOUR BRAND EFFECTIVENESS

As you begin to focus on creating a stronger brand, ask yourself the following questions: Is my story consistent with how I want to be perceived? Are my brand and logo consistent and recognizable? Does my team know what our brand means? If I weren't part of the brand already, would I want to be? If the answer to this last question is no, you still have some fine-tuning to do. If it's yes, you may well be on your way to being the next Coca-Cola.

Don't miss Michael DeVellis and The Powder Group at IBS New York this month! For more information, visit www.thepowdergroup.com.

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About the Author

Mary Novitsky

Mary Novitsky