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Stand by Your Brand

April 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
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Keeping a business profitable during a recession can be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. Spa professionals have to work hard to make their businesses successful, and during times of economic turmoil, it can be even more difficult. The country is currently experiencing the most significant economic decrease since the Great Depression, and it is projected to get worse before it gets better. Now is the time to set a plan in place if you haven’t done so already. Branding your business is one thing you can do to set your spa apart from the competition. A brand is simply a collection of perceptions or natural associations for consumers; thoughts and images that clients think of when they hear your name or place of business.

It is important to examine the message and brand you are sending to clients. Are they consistent with the product offered? Are they low-end or high-end? A business cannot be both; it must pick one and then project a message consistent with this defined brand. To create a successful brand, price point must first be identified, as well as the products being offered and the image being portrayed.

Price point

First you must decide if you would like to be a high-end provider or a more affordable option for clients. If the choice is a high-end provider, that message must be sent consistently. When business profits start to decline, many are quick to slash their prices. If the goal is to send the message that a business is high-end specializing in top-of-the-line service and quality, having a red tag sale will result in losing that brand. There are definitely ways to reduce prices without having a sale. Offer a gift to your clients, such as an add-on service or product with a treatment or send a “thank you for your business” gift card worth a dollar amount to make the client feel appreciated while still maintaining the idea that the business is not a discount spa. If portraying the spa as high-end, the necessary steps must be taken to make it worth the higher price, as well. Every part of the client’s experience needs to be upscale. Customer service is of the utmost importance, from the first phone call to checking out after a treatment. The products being used should be sophisticated and packaged as such, and the entire location should be aesthetically pleasing.

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