I think we have all realised by now that there is only a short shelf life to gimmicks. While times have been tough, we must not forget that at the end of the day we are actually skilled tradespeople. Along with many others, I am passionate about delivering consistently high standards of hairdressing skill and knowledge to the consumer, backed by product knowledge, customer care and consultation expertise.

Here’s how you can stay one step ahead and create the wow factor that we hear so much about in all aspects of the service industry

Shout about your point of difference

This takes time and effort, but the long-term benefits completely outweigh any short, sharp discounts or tricks. History has always dictated that these gunshot tactics rarely work in building up a loyal fanbase anyway. Now the economy is finally turning itself around, it is even more important to start thinking outside of the box regarding marketing to your clients who, in the main, will not be so governed by price and will want to start looking at point of difference with which ever business they choose to use.

Think of creative solutions

A solution I have for a simple and inexpensive point of difference is to start creating your own style books to use as a consultation tool within the salon. These books will not only demonstrate your creative spirit as a company, but will also allow your customers to see that you genuinely care and are prepared to take the time to produce your own promo materials. The whole salon can be involved in creating the books, from your juniors and receptionists to your senior stylists.

Take a bespoke approach

One range I have worked on for a salon mirrored their décor, which is really theatrical. Each of their lookbooks has a theme –  Fringe Theatre for fringes, Box Club for bob shapes and a Matinee to Movie Star lookbook to show day looks converted to evening styles. Clients love the quirky individual look to each of these and it’s a powerful way of proving you are not an ‘off the shelf’ company but a truly individual business.

I would recommend that you change these style books around three to four times a year. Perhaps an Oscars-themed one for award season or festival-inspired for summer. Making sure you involve all the team throughout the process of concept and design will ensure the books get used properly and consistently with in the salon consultation process.

Launch your Salon Trend books with an event

I was recently involved in a success story that saw a salon host a client and team ‘think tank’. This was an evening where clients were invited along to share ideas about hair styling trends and home hair care with the team. Simple refreshments were served and the relaxed low key event meant everyone felt comfortable enough to participate. Start creating that fanbase from simple creative ideas!

This advice for making your salon stand out from the crowd was initially written for HJi