How to build an effective salon branding strategy – Everything you need to know in 8 simple steps
Salons are popping up everywhere! A quick search on Yellow pages brings up more than 2900 results for salons in Chicago, IL alone.
And these numbers are true not just for a big city like Chicago. You might have noticed that even in the smallest of cities, there are more than 15 salons all offering similar services in a ten-mile radius.
If you are a salon owner yourself, you might be no stranger to the increasing competition in your area.
To stand apart from other salons and grow yours from a small local salon to a destination salon, you need to have a strong salon brand.
Being a part of the beauty industry, you are not just responsible for your client’s beautiful image and self-esteem but you are also responsible for creating your own memorable salon brand image.
But here’s the catch, not every salon owner has a degree in branding fundamentals. So, in this blog, we’ll help you understand why having a brand is so important and how to create an effective salon branding strategy for your business.
Whether you have recently opened a salon or have been in the business for a long time you’ll want to listen up.
Before we begin
Before we get started, let’s try to understand what a brand is and why it matters for your business.
What is a brand and why is it important?
A brand is not just a logo on your business card or the sign in front of your shop. It is the sum of all expressions through which your business wishes to be recognized. It is an identity that sets your products and services apart from that of your competitors.
Building a strong brand can help you get a positive reputation for your salon which in turn creates a trustworthy relationship with your customers.
In short, your brand is the soul and essence of your business. It is reflected in:
- Your name and logo
- Your colors and fonts
- Your social media presence
- Your style of writing
- How you communicate with your clients
- What your clients feel when they walk into your salon
- The method that lets your customers schedule meetings.
So, on one hand, it’s a reflection of your salon, but on the other hand, your brand attracts your ideal customers. When you create a brand that actually does a great job of “speaking” for you, it’s like having a silent ambassador for your salon.
Now that you understood what a brand is and why salon branding is important, let’s take a look at what you can do as a salon owner to build a strong brand identity that will help you outshine the competition and make your brand memorable to potential customers.
1. Define your salon’s personality
Almost every business has its own personality, but it’s just that some of them can be described as dull, boring, or unappealing.
And in the salon industry, which is all about beauty and happiness, that’s exactly what we don’t want.
Now, the question is – how to define your salon’s brand personality? To do this you need to ask yourself several questions about your business: What is your competitive advantage? Why have you decided to launch this business? What are your values?
To help you understand better, here are the 4 main things that define your salon’s personality:
A) Your “why”
Let’s consider your “why.” This is the most genuine, sincere, and powerful aspect of your brand. Because it comes from you.
Quickly take a piece of paper or open a new document and jot down your answers to all these questions about your salon:
- Why do you provide the services and products you do?
- Why did you get into this business?
- How do you want to make a difference in the lives of your customers?
- Why is this business important to you?
- What do you want your team to be known for? (Or, more accurately, what is “usually done” in your industry that you can’t stand or dislike).
Now you have a clear understanding of your motivations and goals. This understanding is important for developing a salon brand that expresses these values visually.
B) Your audience
Who is your perfect client? What services do you offer and who does it match with? Your target audience is the group of people you want to attract. Knowing your audience will help you in prioritizing leads and shaping your salon’s brand message.
Be as specific as possible when looking at the target market. Specify demographics like:
Know their characteristics like hobbies, interests, lifestyle, and personality to understand your customers in and out.
An example of a salon’s target audience could be, “ Eco-conscious, unmarried, college-educated women who live in New York(USA), aged between 20 and 35. They are city dwellers who rent homes and flats and work in creative fields or social services.”
C) Your competitive advantage
What if someone asked you “How is your salon unique compared to your competitors”?
What is it about your salon that customers love that they can’t get anywhere else? Do you have a unique attitude, staff, expertise, or style that your competitors don’t?
If you are a sustainable salon that only employs natural products, then make that a part of your salon’s positioning statement. If you are continuing a 40-year legacy of service as your family tradition, let people notice that. If you are using new technology in your salon, make sure to mention that.
D) Your tagline
Tagline usually placed below the logo is more outward-facing and is developed to show your salon personality to the audience concisely and creatively.
To help you understand better, here are some examples of taglines for a salon:
- “Beauty served better”
- “Style is full of thrill”
- “It’s your time to shine”
They hardly position your brand but mostly inspire emotion going beyond a simple description.
Now that the base of your salon brand is ready, let’s figure out how you have to build the next piece of the puzzle which is your salon’s logo.
2. Perfect your logo design
Have you ever recognized a business just by looking at its logo, even if its name isn’t on it? This is because a logo is the most important visual connection a brand makes with its users.
A good logo is memorable, functional for conveying the brand message, and effective for building a suitable brand association.
This is more likely the first thing people see when they come into contact with your business, and it’s your chance to make a good first impression. Show that you provide excellent service, and visually communicate your mission.
We know that creating a logo as perfect as your styling is not an easy task. So, we’ve come up with a few key elements that will help you in designing a good logo for your salon:
A) Keep it neat and simple
Many studies have found that the most memorable logos are of simple design. Going down the lane of design history, the logos that have remained relevant and effective over time are those that are made up of simple forms and colors. The more complicated a design is, the more limitations or hurdles it imposes on its use across media.
B) Your logo should reflect your story
Your logo should speak about you as a salon, your story, or the services that you offer. Of Course, you won’t be able to tell your entire story in one small logo but you can include elements that can give hints. This will also make it memorable and helps in getting easy recognition from the clients.
C) Pick the right colors
To stay true to the “keep it simple” principle, keep your salon logo design to no more than three colors. Also, make sure the color scheme matches your brand promise.
For example, if you are a self-sustainable salon that uses only vegan products? Maybe a green color palette can be used for your logo. If you are a nail salon for women you can go for soft pastels to give a perfect feminine vibe.
The colors you choose for your logo should be reflected in your salon’s decor, as well as on your website and social media profiles, and in printed marketing materials.
D) Use clean fonts
To enhance your logo design, it is important to choose clean and modern fonts. Even if it is urging to choose a flowery font, staying away from a cluttered look is better. Most of the design experts suggest using a mix of sans serif font and a serif font.
Even if you are starting from scratch or improving your already existing logo, you can use logo-making tools like Canva and LogoMakr for free. But do remember that there are professional designers who can make amazing logos for reasonable prices.
3. Be consistent with your brand elements
First a quick question:
When someone says “Netflix” what comes to your mind instantly? Is it their red logo on a black background? Is it the phrase “Netflix and chill”? Or is it their memes on social media?
I’m pretty sure it is all of these things. Not just Netflix, you look at a lot of other brands and recognize them before your mind even registers the text.
This is because all these brands have been consistent with using their brand attributes across all touchpoints to make them memorable.
The more consistent your salon’s branding is, the more recognizable it is to customers, providing a feeling of reliability. This helps your customers get to know your brand on a more personal level.
Here are the elements you need to focus on to keep your salon branding consistent across all touchpoints:
A) Brand tone of voice:
Across all the content you publish be it your emails, newsletters, website, or social media, your salon should sound the same. The tone you use should build connections, trust, and a memorable image of your brand with your customers.
To decide the tone of your salon, scan your buyer’s persona. For example, if you are a hair salon for kids, you can adopt a fun and approachable tone. If you are a nail salon targeting college-going girls and married women, an enthusiastic and respectful tone would work.
B) The content you create:
Always try to produce high-quality content that is relevant to your salon. Use the consistent tone and language of your brand in every content piece that you create.
Listed below are some tips to create content that is consistent and reflects your salon brand:
- Content is not just blog posts anymore, it’s blog posts, social media posts, newsletters, and even videos. Make a content calendar and decide what you’ll be posting every week.
- Try not to make it complicated by posting a huge pile of updates one day and then nothing the next. Oversharing might irritate customers and damage your salon’s reputation.
- The way text and images are formatted should also be consistent. For a salon business that is creative and charming, a format with limited text and a focus on communicating through images or videos can be most effective.
- Know what content you’ll be posting on different social media platforms. Content like the scenes shot on the phone can go on Snapchat whereas Instagram audiences prefer to see more aesthetic pictures. You can use Facebook to promote long pieces of content and Twitter to share quick tips with your customers.
C) Brand color scheme:
Color is a way to differentiate and identify your salon and its services in a crowded marketplace. From the red-and-white combination of the Coca-Cola logo to the green of the Starbucks emblem or Tiffany’s distinctive blue, the shade you choose is a vital element in brand recognition.
Given how color enhances brand recognition (which can lead to increased sales and engagement), you must maintain a consistent color scheme throughout all brand expressions, whether online or in print or your salon decor.
4. Deliver a 5-star salon experience
When it comes to brand building, your client’s salon experience is often the most ignored piece of the puzzle. This is a serious mistake and a great opportunity wasted.
Ensuring your customers have a smooth experience from scheduling an appointment to checking-out is a way to:
- Boost brand loyalty
- Attract and retain customers
- Differentiate your business
Here are a few ways by which you can deliver an all-star salon experience to reinforce your salon branding process:
A) Seamless booking procedures
Unlike other brick-and-mortar businesses, people usually visit a salon on a whim. That means it’s important to provide an option for them to book online at a time that suits them. Otherwise, those who want to book online will have a negative experience if they need to call you during business hours.
Having a salon booking system makes it easy for your clients to book their services and also makes your salon look professional.
B) Appointment confirmations and reminders
Further, a seamless client experience is enhanced by sending an appointment confirmation that allows the customer to add the details to their calendar right away.
Sending automated reminders is also equally important because they reduce no-shows. People get busy and often tend to forget appointments booked weeks ago, so customers love getting reminders and you’ll love having fewer no-shows.
C) Do personalized consultation
When your clients are coming back to you, it means they are putting their trust in you. To keep that trust and make them feel valued, always do a personalized consultation.
Start by using their first name, remember how they liked their previous services. Always listen to what they want before adding your expert advice. This is a great way to build your relationship with clients.
Instead of relying on your memory, make customer notes, including what they are allergic to, and attach a description of their last service. This will help you in having everything down pat when they visit your salon.
D) Watch your (body) language
Greet customers with warm genuine smiles, handshakes, and small talks. Friendly facial expressions are contagious, and customers will reciprocate by feeling happier and more at ease in the salon.
Ensure all your staff members follow the same guidelines as to how to communicate, how to behave, or how to address your clients.
E) Check-out and payment
The check-out process is the final chance to make a strong final impression on your clients. You can make it flawless by providing various and secure payment methods.
Thank the client for choosing your salon in a follow-up email a day or two after the session. Include a link to your Google My Business page in the email so that the client can leave you a review. Asking for a review shows the client that you care about their experience at your salon.
Go the extra mile
You know how to provide a great salon experience by now. But what about those little extra gestures that provide the icing on the cake on an already great haircut or manicure?
Why not invest in a good coffee machine to serve amazing lattes? Why not up your snack game by including vegan products? This might seem like a lot of effort now but it’ll be worth it when you get amazing reviews online and maybe personal recommendations also.
5. Get interior design in line with your branding
By now, you might have understood clearly that branding is a sum of perceptions and experiences people have of your business. What could be a more powerful experience of your brand than when someone walks through your salon’s door? At this point, they are literally immersed in your brand.
Many salon businesses understand the value of logo and website, but their salon interior design is drenched in beige and filled with overpriced and boring furniture.
It’s not just about making it look beautiful, it’s about influencing people to see your business in the light that you want it to be seen in. Why not use your physical space as a palette, a message board, to tell the world what your salon is all about?
Listed below are a few things that can help you incorporate your brand into the interior design of your salon’s physical space:
- Instead of having boring art to just fill up the space of your empty wall, use wall art to represent your brand, colors, and story.
- Signage is an obvious opportunity to support your brand. You can display your logo as a beautiful, 3D lobby design in a prominent location
- It is often said, “Anything you do reflects everything you do”. If you skimp on the quality of materials in your interiors, clients will know you’ll skimp in other places too. You need not opt for expensive things. You just need to give attention to details.
- Your clients will spend their first minutes in the lounge area, getting a feel of your salon. What do you want that feeling to be? The simplest way to make your lounge area radiate elegance is by having accent armchairs in your brand color
- Everything looks great with good lighting. Don’t expect that bright light everywhere is a good thing for your customers. For example, the lighting at the reception should be good enough for the clients to read your menu whereas the lighting near the chairs should eliminate shadows and make your customer look good.
- Music is the vital element that works harmoniously to enhance your salon brand identity. Right from the moment a customer walks in, the tone should be set. So, offer due consideration to the background music in your salon.
It doesn’t end here! Having a well-branded salon design isn’t enough, it should also function logically. Your clients should be able to go easily from busy to active to calm places in your salon without any disturbances. For example, you don’t want to have a noisy blow-drying room just beside a room where clients are getting their relaxing pedicures done.
6. Create a website that reflects your brand
In today’s technology-driven society, your salon’s website is typically the primary point of contact for potential clients. It is also often the first place where customers go to know about your salon or book appointments with you.
So, when you set out to design and build your website, it is crucial to keep your brand in mind. Focusing on your brand will help to ensure that you infuse character into your website and make it more customer-centric and user-friendly.
You can make your salon website by starting on some easier-to-use platforms like Weebly and Wix, which come with dozens of relevant features necessary to build out your practice.
Here are a few tips to create a great website and also make it a reflection of your salon brand:
- Start defining the content of your website. Use ah-mazing images and videos that reflect your salon’s vibe.
- As we said, consistency is the key. Use your logo and colors effectively throughout the website.
- Your website acts as a medium for your potential customers to get in touch with you. So make sure your website has all the important information like contact, services, business hours, location, and mailing address.
- Use Call to action(CTAs) to make it easy for your customers to call you or book an appointment with you. You can set up a salon scheduling software to allow your customers to check your availability and book appointments accordingly. It minimizes the workload and brings a steady flow of customers. It’s a WIN-WIN!
- As most of your bookings come from a mobile device, make sure your website looks good and works well from a phone!
- Even though most of the countries are vaccinated, your website can still be a place to provide information about the basic hygiene standards you are providing. This will also build trust among your prospects.
7. Use social media as an effective branding tool
According to a report, social media users have passed the 4.2 billion mark in early 2021. With these many users online, what would be a better branding tool than your social media sites?
Having a strong social media presence can help you increase the visibility of your brand and reach a wider audience. It can help you in engaging with potential customers, learning about their preferences, and answering any questions they might have about your business.
Before you dive into social media usage, let us give you a small tip:
Do a little bit of research and find out which platform suits best for your customer base, and then target those individually.
For example, millennials are most likely to use Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, however, Facebook remains the most used platform for GenX
Here are a few tips to leverage social media as an effective branding tool:
- Make your profile look aesthetically beautiful by using your brand-specific themes and colors in every post. This will eventually increase your brand identity.
- Optimize your profiles. Rather than posting irrelevant quotes, use the bio section to describe your unique selling proposition. Add a book now button to your Facebook, Instagram, and Google My Business pages to make contacting you and finding your website easy.
- Increase your social media engagement and reach by running contests and giveaways. These can be conducted during special occasions and holidays. You can announce exciting offers like discounted or free haircuts for the winners.
- Use reels to make short videos like behind the scenes or your salon’s beautiful interiors. These can end up on the explore page which results in gaining brand recognition.
- Again, Be consistent! Consistent both in terms of quantity and quality. Make a content calendar and post frequently to engage the audience. At the same time, don’t forget to maintain the same look and feel across all social media platforms.
- It is your existing followers that will help you in spreading the word about your salon. So create share-worthy content and inspire people to like, engage and share.
8. Invest in a salon brochure
With the presence of the digital world all around you, is having a brochure still important? The answer is yes. Along with a website, social media, and other marketing efforts, a well-designed brochure is a crucial part of your salon branding process.
You want to know why? Well, here’s how a brochure can help you in expanding your salon’s brand identity:
- A brochure serves as a perfect introduction to your salon business. You can include all information about your services, location, pricing, packages, and even your business’s hours.
- They can be used alone or along with other marketing strategies. You can mail them to customers, hand them out at events or place them in high-traffic areas for people to pick up on their own.
- Brochures help increase your brand visibility. Your salon’s signature logo, fonts, and colors can be used effectively throughout the brochure. Adding images of the services that you offer will make it look more beautiful, fun, and intriguing.
- You can try to make it unique and stand out from the competition by using creative names to describe your services.
- Along with making it eye-catching and beautiful, you can also motivate your customers to try out your services or get in touch with you by adding a call to action.
- Brochures are the easiest way to get referrals because they can be passed along from person to person.
Although it feels great to make a salon brochure all by yourself, you can always hire a professional who has more knowledge and experience.
Having a well-defined salon brand identity can make a difference between success and failure. A lot of salon owners think that they get to choose their brand. But, You only get to choose how your customer sees you and not the other way around. So, salon branding requires a lot of planning, hard work, and consistency, but the amount of customers you will generate through this is worth all the effort.
So, follow all these steps and plan your branding journey properly, you got this!
If there’s anything else you want to know, feel free to drop a comment below.
We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day.
If you have any thoughts on this blog, or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below.
We love a good talk!