When you think of a “brand” you probably think of a product company. Apple is a well-known brand offering iPhones, iPads and Macbooks. Now think about what the Apple brand represents. Apple innovates. Apple leads. Apple is cutting edge. Those brand qualities are reflected in everything Apple does and portrays—from the design of its products to the language it uses in its marketing to the look of its website and commercials. Consciously or unconsciously, you can always identify the Apple brand.
As a hairstylist or salon owner (and as a stylist, you are an owner because you own your business and our clientele), you can also be a brand. Why is this important? Because branding distinguishes you from everyone else who does what you do. You do hair, but so do hundreds of thousands of other hairstylists. Your brand communicates to people why your hair is unique, and what you offer to clients that nobody else does. What’s more, says Matrix Artistic Director Dilek Onur-Taylor, your personal brand travels with you no matter what you’re doing. “It’s in the way you speak, the way you dress and the way you make others feel,” she says.
How do you define your brand? It starts with some soul searching. Ask yourself why you do what you do? What is it you want your clients to see, feel, experience? How does time in your salon or your chair differ from time in anyone else’s?
Let’s say after you take a long, hard look at yourself, your work, your clients and your business, you discover that you are passionate about balayage. You do the technique on many of your color clients, you love the art of balayage, clients love the results and refer you to their friends. Your brand is taking shape—your business is about elevating the art and craft of beautiful, subtle, hand-painted, bespoke hair color. This says much more about you than “I do hair color” or “I do hair.”
The Elements of Your Brand
Now it’s time to weave that brand message into key areas:
--Your visual imagery. On social media, on your website, in any type of marketing or promotion you do, it’s important to portray your brand. The graphics that support your images should reflect what clients love about your balayage—it’s on-trend, it’s elegant, it’s tasteful, it’s simple.
--Your language. The term balayage should be incorporated into your identity. So instead of referring to yourself as a hairstylist, refer to yourself as a balayage specialist. Put that on your business cards and on your website. Use that description when you introduce yourself to people or when they ask you what you do.
--Your environment. Balayage is an upscale technique. Does your décor reflect that same upscale elegance?
--Your activities. Events, promotions or fundraisers should also reflect your upscale brand. Maybe you’ll do a wine and cheese evening with hair color consultations or support a fashion show that raises money for breast cancer.
--Your brand could also be centered on fashion color, blowouts or men’s grooming. Whatever it is, it should reflect your passion, your skills, your business model and your personality, and be represented in everything you do!
A BRANDING SNAPSHOT—JESSICA TODD SALON, PORTSMOUTH, NH
Early in her career, Jessica Todd became passionate about balayage. She studied with L’Oréal Professionnel, was mentored by balayage pioneer Nancy Braun, and ultimately became a balayage educator and expert in her area. Eventually she opened her own salon, branding herself as a balayage specialist. That branding is reflected in a number of ways. Jessica Todd Salon’s tagline is “high-end hair.” Models on her website and on her Instagram feed are shown wearing balayage highlights, as is Jessica and the members of her team. She created a promotional video that depicts stylists doing balayage techniques. She provides clients with education on balayage—what it is and why it’s appealing. In everything Jessica does, online and in real life, the fact that hers is a high-end, balayage brand comes across loud and clear!