If you think of your favorite brands, what comes to mind? Ask anyone to list their favorites and they’ll have no problem naming well-known companies like Starbucks, Nike and Apple. But what exactly is a brand?
Understanding the elements that make up branding, and understanding your own brand better, will help you determine the impression you want to leave on current and potential customers. Branding isn’t just for large corporations with vast budgets. It’s important to define and invest in your spa's brand regardless of the size of your business. Here’s a beginner’s guide to get you started.
What Is Branding?
Branding is how a company, individual or service is defined and perceived by those who encounter it. A brand is not always tangible—it’s not simply a logo, product, advertisement or person alone. It’s a collection of identifiers that make it unique and set it apart from the competition.
Your brand is a combination of your company’s tone of voice, customer service, team members and the feelings evoked when a customer interacts with the spa. It’s everything from the signage on your door to the way you package a customer’s purchase. It’s the experience someone has calling your business or trying to find you online. Ultimately, every single interaction a customer has with your spa makes up your brand.
Your brand can also be defined as the promise you make to your clients. It’s the reason why they will choose you over competitors. To define it simply, brands are perceptions that exist in the minds of consumers. And the best part? You control how customers perceive you.
Take a moment to think about your own brand identity. Do you have one? Can you define it? What makes your brand unique or stand out?
One of the first steps to establishing your brand is to determine your company’s mission, values and personality. This can, and should, go beyond just making profits. For example, spas can aim to enhance wellness for their clients, or donate a portion of their proceeds to a charitable cause.
Remember that everything you do as a business should reinforce your company’s identity. For example, if you're focused on providing a serene experience for your clients, you don’t want them to be able to hear your receptionist booking appointments from their treatment table.
Another crucial component to brand identity is to establish guidelines such as color schemes, fonts and communication styles to ensure consistency in messaging. These subtle, almost subconscious details are noticed by your clients. If we again use the example of a spa that promises tranquility, a red and blue LED "Open" sign in the door would be jarring, whereas a simple white neon in a script font could look right at home.
Defining your brand and knowing what it represents will help you determine what kind of customers you want to attract, as well as making your spa easier to “sell” to clients.
Know Your Audience
To be successful, you need to know what current or potential clients think about your brand. This can be achieved through research, such as surveys or feedback provided to team members at your spa. By understanding how people perceive your brand, you can gain clarity on how to connect with your customers, which helps you find more opportunities to be successful and evolve in the future.
The more shared values a customer has with the brand, the more loyal they will be. Determine who your current clients are and what kind of customers you want to attract. People form associations and emotional connections to brands that they feel represent them. Strong connections drive customer loyalty. Attracting customers that share your values makes it easier to form genuine connections and keep those customers coming back.
Customer loyalty is the willingness to buy from a brand again and again, because of the trust built between the client and brand. This trust grows as a result of positive customer service experiences, overall satisfaction, consistency and perceived value of products and services.
Every interaction you have with a customer is an opportunity to build trust, thereby enhancing customer loyalty and ultimately brand loyalty. Reward guests for choosing your business with loyalty programs, such as gifts with purchase, rewards points and access to exclusive specials and discounts. At the end of the day, loyal customers spend more money with brands they’re connected to—and they're more likely to refer their friends and family.
Branding is an ongoing process and will continue to evolve as your spa does. Understanding the invaluable benefits of branding gives you the power to shape how you run the business and how you imagine it in the future.
Consumer perceptions are ever-changing, which makes it even more important for businesses to take control of their branding. Whether by design or not, we all form positive or negative relationships with brands on a daily basis. Defining yours is integral to creating positive consumer perceptions about your company, which influences purchasing behaviors, ultimately playing a key role in your long-term success.