1. Thinking Of Your Brand As A Cost And Not An Investment.
Business owners often cut corners to get their logo, visual identity and marketing materials (yes, this includes social media) developed for as close to free as possible, often unaware of how important a strong brand identity is to their business’s success strategy. Your brand is the vessel that holds economic value and your product/services aren’t going to sell themselves as soon as they hit the market, in fact the market won’t even know there is a new fish in the pond altogether! Your brand is the only business asset that does not automatically have to depreciate with time. A brand that is treated right can continue to increase in value.
SOLUTION: Seek out the services of a professional in the field of marketing and design. Just like you, they are experts in their industry and it’s their mission to guide you in creating a kick-ass brand that will showcase who you are, because your brand is exactly that, a representation of you and your personality. Sure, you could just create your own logo on Vistaprint, but that would be like that designer cutting their own hair and proclaiming themselves to be a hairdresser, that age old saying; “you get what you pay for” is bittersweet. Be savvy when selecting your designer as not all designers are as experienced as others (just like any profession). The best way to find the right designer for you is by someone you know recommending a designer they have worked with and are HAPPY with what was produced for them or start researching and looking through portfolios on Google, send an email to the one who’s portfolio resonates with your taste and the one who’s style speaks to you the most.
2. Not Knowing Who Your Ideal Client Is.
Yes, you truly are talented enough to serve potentially anyone in your market, however your business will always be a better fit for some people and not so much for others and guess what? That’s absolutely ok! It’s like trying to paint a house with a sample pot of paint, you spread yourself too thin trying to cater to all walks of life when really you could make a bigger impact catering to just one room and painting with the same level of consistency. Your brand must be relevant to your potential clients and create an emotional connection with them. Knowing who they are and what aspirations, challenges and needs they have can help you create a brand that will easily connect with your market, grab their attention and create a positive perception of your business in their minds.
SOLUTION: Find your specialty; A specialty is a combination of things you love doing, you’re really good at them and you have done them many times before (Your passions, abilities and experience). Ask yourself these questions,
What am I passionate about?
What am I skilled at?
What am I knowledgeable on?
What am I more experienced on?
From here, you need to find a gap in the market (your potential clients), identify their problems/ needs, research your competitors in this niche and develop unique strategies to set yourself apart from everyone else!
3. Social Media Will Save Me!
Yes, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are wonderful tools to market your business and grow your community. But those alone do not form your whole marketing strategy, it is important to remember that social media goes hand in hand with branding and other forms of marketing to achieve a successful marketing campaign for your salon. You will still need to invest in highquality printed collateral, events and even the occasional direct mail piece. And don’t forget one of the most impactful business-growing tools available – exemplary customer service.
SOLUTION: Use a 12 month marketing template to map out what you need to do in order to run a successful marketing campaign in 2018. Think about print marketing materials; refer a friend cards, monthly product of the month, apprentice specials/promos, social media is your online presence to promote these.
4. Appropriate Imagery
From your website, to newsletters, social media posts and brochures – if it has an image in it, it must be on brand. Low resolution images or images that don’t share a similar theme give the impression of being rushed, lazy and often quite random.
SOLUTION: When choosing images, they should all be high resolution and visually similar; e.g. they must share a similar warmth, colour, type of person, or theme.
5. Too Much Commercial, Rather Than Customer Focus.
Your customers are the reason you have a brand, right? One of the biggest branding mistakes you can make is to neglect your customers and focus on your product and service. Sure, you want your product to be amazing, but don’t you want your customers to have an amazing experience? Ensure that you are creating the perfect customer experience with your brand by connecting with them emotionally through personal stories, blog posts and connection with them through email, social media, etc.
SOLUTION: How often do you scroll on Facebook or Instagram (on average people do this every 2 hours when awake) and see ad after ad, sales clutter after sales clutter, it’s boring. Your role as an expert in your industry is to educate your audience. Instead of flooding your socials with purely products, services and promotions, mix it up. Showcase your team members, fun facts, hair/beauty care and tips, body of work, inspiration, on trend content, local content, viral content… the list goes on!
6. Design Inconsistency
We’ve all seen when businesses get lazy and decide to use a colour or a font outside of their usual style. Will it mean the end of the business and a dramatic crash in sales? Of course not, but over time if it continues and the business becomes lax with all aspects of their branding, it will impact their customer’s perception of the them. Being inconsistent with your branding comes across unorganised and unreliable, and you run the risk of your customers confusing your business with your competitors and other brands.
SOLUTION: Keep the photos on your socials feed consistent by applying the same filter over
your imagery, there are many free apps that allow you to do this, even though we use our design software here at DMO, my favourite app to use is Afterlight. Consistency throughout your branding as a whole (this includes social media, print media and web media) is simple when you stick to a guideline – often referred to as a ‘style guide’ in our industry. Your business may not need a highly in-depth style guide, more just keeping ‘rules’ in play for use of same font sets, colours, photo filters, look, feel etc.
7. Getting Caught Up With The Latest Trends.
Eventually, trendy becomes common. Your brand will have a longer lifespan if it can stand the test of time. Trendy brands must to change with the times, which can be confusing to consumers and costly for the BUSINESS (aka YOU!). Branding is more than a logo and a slogan – it is a marketing discipline with proven techniques for effectiveness. Because it ties everything together with consistent look, feel, and personality, the company brand is certainly the most integral component in marketing.
SOLUTION: Choose a look that won’t date and by trusting the advice of a professional in the design and marketing space will help you to execute this the first time round.
Sarah Garner is a Graphic Designer, Social media and Print marketing guru for the hair, beauty, spa and clinic space who works closely in conjunction with The ZING Project. For more information join the private Facebook community: ‘Inspired Salon Collective’ or email Sarah directly: firstname.lastname@example.org