Note: This article will appear in the May/June issue of Viewpoint magazine.
Marketing is a paid form of communication, and typically translates into advertising. Publicity is non-paid communication, and is presented by a neutral third party. Generating and managing publicity for your businesses is both an art and a science. When it works, it’s incredibly effective because the end result is that you’re not telling customers how incredible your services are; the media is doing it for you.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Lisa Power Salon for the past three years. My role is to generate as much publicity for the team and salon as possible. Not everything they do is “newsworthy,” but much of it is. They participate in continuing education, develop trend previews, hire new team members- many of the things other salons also do. Lisa Power Salon has been so successful with their publicity efforts because I tell their story consistently, packaged in a manner that the media can use.
And it’s worked. In the past three years, Lisa and her team have landed in Allure Magazine three different times, been featured in American Salon magazine, won the “Best of the Decade” award from Seattle Magazine, clinched the “Best of Western Washington” award for Best Hair Color, and been highlighted in a number of trade and consumer publications. While seeing her name in lights is exciting and rewarding, it doesn’t pay the bills. It has, however, cultivated an entirely new clientele, which has transitioned into a new and steady customer base.
Strategically, this media coverage is neutral. Lisa Power and her team are not outwardly announcing that they provide the Best Hair Color in Western Washington. We develop very focused publicity efforts and leave the announcing to Evening Magazine. And because the message is delivered by the media, it is perceived by customers as true and legitimate. With this, marketing efforts follow to promote the awards and designations to current and potential clients in an effort to grow her business. And it works.
The foundation of this strategy is a commitment to tell the story. Attending trainings, developing trend previews, and hiring team members are critically important to the success of any business in this industry. But telling the world about those efforts can help grow your business, and position your salon or spa as the expert in the industry within your geographic area.