7 Step-By-Step Process to Build your Salon Branding Identity

Let’s be honest: If you are a salon business owner, you have more competitors than you bargained for when entering this overly-crowded market. You cannot scroll through any social media timeline for more than two minutes before stumbling upon an advert for a hair, nail, or skincare service provider. There are tons of salons and spas all around your block. Clients are spoilt for choice. How, then, can you add a special sauce to your brand in order to make it stand out from the crowd? The unique sauce is what marketing experts call “brand identity”.

What does the term brand identity mean?

Brand identity refers to the features, services, attributes, elements, and everything that makes you uniquely you. It is the image you portray to your target client in order to shape their perception of your salon and to help them tell you apart from your close competitors.

How can you build your salon branding identity? Here is a 7 step-by-step guide for you:

Step 1: Define what your salon business is about

It is through knowing who you are as a business that you will be able to identify the distinctive features and attributes that make up your salon’s unique identity. There are two key factors that will help you know who you are as a brand:

  1. Your personality:

You are the vision carrier for your business. Your personality, vibe, energy, culture, likes & preferences, beliefs, and everything that define you as a person will rub off on your brand personality no matter how much you try to prevent it. It is, therefore, paramount that you go on a road of self-discovery before you start designing your brand identity. Identify the part of your personality that could benefit your marketing (e.g. favorite colors, font type, playfulness, professionalism, etc.) and amplify its impact on your brand personality. That done, identify the part of your personal identity that could hurt your brand and work towards minimizing its impact on your brand personality.

2. Your mission:

  • What’s your “why”? Why did you start your salon business? Which pain points did you want to solve in the market? What do you do better than anyone else?
  • Which beliefs drive your salon? Which values are important to you as the business owner?
  • Your brand personality. Supposing that your salon was a human being, what kind of people would it hang around with? Which clients and employees would the business be friends with?
  • Your brand voice: Again, supposing that your salon was a human being, how would it communicate with other people? What would be its tone of voice?
  • Your adjectives: Pretend to be a customer. Which are the 5 top adjectives that you would use to describe your salon?
  • Your objectives: What are your goals and ambitions? What are your future expansion plans?

Brainstorm answers to these questions to help you get clarity on what your salon is about. Take your time with this one because this clarity is the foundation you need to build on going forward.

Step 2: Know your position in the market

In this step, conduct thorough research to get clarity on where your salon stands as at now and its untapped potential that you can leverage to create a stronger brand identity. Among other things, you should clarify and understand the following:

  • Your audience:  

Who is your ideal client? What is this client’s age, gender, and skin/hair type, among other defining attributes? Which vibe and what energy levels best describe this ideal client? The reason you need answers to all these questions is that you cannot create a brand that appeals to everybody. You must create a brand that your ideal client will certainly love and then hope for other people who aren’t necessarily within your target demographic to love whatever you create. You can, for example, target young working women and end up attracting college girls as well. You should not target both groups simultaneously though. The college girls should come in as an added bonus.

  • Your value proposition

What is your unique selling point? What unique value do you provide that got your loyal clients hooked? What can you offer your clients that no other salon can? Emphasize what makes you unique when creating your brand identity.

  • Competition

What are the key differences between your salon and competing salons? How do their value propositions compare to yours? What do these competitors offer clients that you don’t?

  • SWOT analysis

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis will help you find the right image to portray in your brand identity. Which positive characteristics of your business could help it stand out? Use those when designing your brand image. What about the negative characteristics that could hurt your brand? Work towards eliminating those. Which opportunities have presented themselves as a consequence of market changes and trends? Lastly, how much hostility has the prevailing market conditions thrown at your business and how can you go around that hostility?

Pro tip: Are you unsure of where to start when evaluating your position in the market? Don’t sweat it! You can make things a lot easier for yourself by investing in salon management software that has an A-class hair salon online booking system. Using the system, you can design and send automated survey questions to clients, asking them to help you understand where you stand as a brand. You can ask them any of the questions we have listed in this section and many more. The system will also help you define your ideal client by collecting and segmenting customer personal data (age, gender, hair/nail/skin type, etc.) on your behalf.

Step 3: Create your visual identity

By this point, you already know what your salon is about and where it stands in the market. Now let’s get into the meat and potatoes. When prospective and existing clients interact with your marketing content, online or offline, which visuals would you want them to see? Factor in all the insights you collected in the first two steps and translate them into the following visual concepts:

  1.  Colors:

There is quite an interesting relationship between colors and brand identity. For example, if your ideal client is a youthful female adult (21-40 years), that age bracket is mostly associated with bright and playful colors. Use such colors as your brand colors. If your target audience is affluent males and females in their 50s, dark blue colors would be a great fit because it represents maturity, trustworthiness, and security.

Pro tip: It is important that you read widely on color symbolism to get a clear understanding of the most suitable colors for your brand’s visual identity.

2. Typography:

Different font types have different psychological effects on different demographics. Take serif fonts, for example. These fonts are classic. They command trust and respect. Another example is script fonts. These fonts portray creativity and elegance. What vibe do you intend to create for your brand identity?

Pro tip: Read up on typography symbolism and pick the most suitable font type for your website, flyers, business cards, wall paints/art, receipts and invoices, and all marketing materials that you send out there to speak for your brand.

Step 4: Pick your business name

Your business name matters a lot. The name you pick now will determine how your logo will look like, your domain name, your Twitter handles and Facebook profile name, and your trademark registration. That is why you must put a lot of thought into it.

Here are a few tips for picking the perfect salon business name:

  • Don’t imitate. Ensure that your name is hard to imitate. Most importantly, ensure that the name is so unique that no client can confuse it with another brand.
  • Brainstorm made-up words that could make great and unique salon business names.
  • You can also find a good name by altering your favorite names, say by adding or removing letters at the end.
  • Create an acronym of your name or a phrase that describes what you do. Try to pick the acronyms that are easy to remember and associate with your salon.
  • By now, you should have quite a long list of potential business names. Narrow down the list by removing names that are already registered by other web owners as domain names.
  • Run the remaining names by your close associates and clients. These people will help you catch errors that you could have missed.

Step 5: Design your brand logo

A logo is arguably the second most important visual representation of your salon business after the business name. It is the face of your business. When designing your logo, ensure that it is unique, communicative, and identifiable. Also, ensure that it is scalable to fit perfectly in all your marketing materials (materials as big as a billboard and as small as a business card). Ensure that the logo carries your business name and mission statement and that people can clearly read the text on the logo no matter how small it is.

Your logo can take one of these approaches:

  • Abstract logos such as Google Chrome. Such a logo has no known foundation in the real world, but its unique color combination makes it seem and feel perfect for the browser.
  • Letter mark logos such as IBM especially if your business name is a catchy acronym.
  • Word marks such as Facebook 

Step 6: Put your identity into practice

You now have a clearly defined brand personality, business name, logo, voice, colors, and fonts. Your brand identity is all set at this point. What remains now is for you to integrate this identity into every aspect of your salon business. Ensure that this identity is visible and reflected in every material that clients associate with your salon, from your employees’ uniforms, your business website and social media profiles, signage, flyers, brochures, and everything else that clients can see, read, hear, and associate with your salon. Ensure that your brand identity is consistent across all your marketing platforms.

Step 7: Analyze, refine, and evolve your new identity

Branding isn’t a one-off activity. It is an everlasting process. To remain competitive, make it your habit to review your brand identity regularly and make a few tweaks in order to align it with the prevailing industry trends. However, be careful not to confuse clients with abrupt, major changes. Ensure that all changes are gradual and well-timed.

Final word

There is no day you will have full control over how the world perceives your brand identity. So, don’t beat yourself up if people still have negative things to say about your brand identity. Just put your best foot forward, make reasonable changes, and then leave the rest to the prevailing market forces to determine. 

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