It must be every hairdresser’s nightmare to have a customer walk in clutching a copy of Hello magazine and asking to have their hair styled like one of the celebrities between its covers.
We experience the same sinking feeling when a client comes to us asking for a rebrand like one of their rivals. What do you tell them? It wouldn’t suit you? Or that the exercise will be self-defeating because the whole objective of branding your business is to position it as unique?
The fact is that branding has become an increasingly important aspect of business promotion in recent years, a fact that latecomers are finally getting wind of and deciding they must have it, even if they have only a vague notion of what ‘it’ is.
They know that it involves having a logo and making sure it appears on everything from button badges to billboards, and of course it must be ‘cutting edge’.
There are fashions in logos, like there are in hairstyles, current favourites being the use of script faces and distressed typography, but grabbing one off the shelf is as unlikely to flatter you as a quiff or Peaky Blinders crop, unless of course you want to look like everyone else.
The open secret of successful branding is to be yourself. Which implies a certain amount of self- knowledge and self-confidence (and sometimes, dare I say it, self-restraint!) Which is where a second opinion from a marketing specialist could help. And notice that I say ‘marketing’ rather than ‘design’, although design is still an important part of the mix.
The mistake that so many make is to think that branding is all about the logo. On the contrary, branding is everything you are and everything you do, from your staff and your premises to your business philosophy and practice. And when the reality doesn’t live up to the image, the result is a disillusioned client. So, there might be a bit of basic housekeeping to do before you set about redecoration.
The essence of a successful brand is the customer experience. Are they made to feel welcome? Are they reassured by the product knowledge and helpfulness of your staff? Do they trust and believe in you? Basic stuff you might think, but if the cake falls flat, icing it isn’t going to help.
That’s what successful branding is all about. Investing in people. A close look at your marketing strategy and practice. And some judicious restyling by image teasing experts like ourselves!