Good PR in a Bad Economy

Posted by Sharon Esche Irving under Editorial Insights, General, In-Salon Event Ideas, Strategy, Tips & Tricks

Catch the Wave

PR-savvy salon and spa owners are ‘surfers’ . . . they are always looking for the next good PR ‘wave’.

Well what are the first things companies look to cut when the economy hiccups – PR and advertising of course. It’s traditional!

But, that’s good news for you!  Slowing economies are ripe with opportunity for ‘pr-creative’ smaller businesses.

Think about it.

  • Competition has thinned the herd – No different from the huge $ companies in the news today, nearby salons have disappeared from the scene. That means ‘more prospective clients’ out there who still want to “look good, feel good”.
  • Fewer advertising and PR $ have been spent. Competition has been saving ad and promotion $, their momentum has slowed. it is now easier for smaller/newer businesses to look ‘larger than life’.

The clients are always out there. They still want good salon services (albeit with slightly increased time-between-services). Now how do you get them to walk in your door?

What’s The Wave? – It’s ‘Value-Added’!

“It’s the economy, stupid.” How many times have we all heard that phrase in these pre-election months? Well nothing has changed. Editors and TV segment producers are very likely to look twice at good consumer story ideas to help value-hunting readers and viewers.

No, no. We’re not advising you lower your salon service prices. Good ‘Value’ means … be additive. Here are a few suggestions to get your own creativity flowing:

  1. Create an ‘excellent value’ for your own local media people (Yes, we’re talking shameless self-promotion here). Design yourself a Media VIP Card to give them access to complimentary services at your salon/spa(s). If you make your case and write your cover letter well, you will take the onus off the “shameless self-promotion” aspect. Include the little guys – Don’t just send your VIP cards to the big name anchors and beauty writers at local TV, radio stations, magazines and newspapers Make sure to include ‘assistants’ and the others often by-passed when ‘the goodies’ go out to the media. If that ‘junior’ person has a great experience and feels like a star, you can bet they’ll be sharing their experience at your place when they get back to work. Works every time.You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.

    Note: Our next major post will be an in-depth look on the topic of “How to Use VIP cards” and we’ll include an example of a ‘real world’ VIP card with the copy used, the supplier we had make them and a sample cover letter for you to use as a guide.

  2. Create ‘newsworthy value’ and ‘hot topics’ for your current clients and announce them well in advance(news releases, mailings, email)  Here are a few suggestions:
    • Free In-Salon Educational Programs – Get creative! Plan a series of ‘in-salon’ client educational programs presented by area ‘experts’ on current hot topics. e.g. financial planning, value shopping (retail, travel, holiday, etc). Plan to give yourself 15-30 minutes to demonstrate ‘do-at-home’ styling tips and offer a free gift).

      Your local news release headline might looks something like . . .

      Saving $ Today is more than ‘Stylish’.

      Retail/Travel/Shopping Expert Joe Blow

      Shares $ Saving Tips With ‘Your Salon/Spa’ Clients.

    • Join forces (and ad/promo $) with complimentary nearby businesses. Create joint opportunities for each other’s clients/customers. Example: Burn a beautiful ‘essential oil’ candle at your front desk, available for purchase at your co-marketing retailer. Place a handsome card next to the candle offering your clients ‘substantial’ discounts on their first purchases from your partnering retailer. Of course, your partner does the same for you on their counter. The two of you can then consider other co-marketing events and partner together.

      Your local news release might look something like . . .

      Your Salon/Spa and Their Bizname
      Team Up to ‘Add Value’ Over Holidays and Beyond.

  3. Adapt ‘More’ To Needs of Working Women/Mothers. We have already seen top salons and spas throughout the country revising long-time policies and procedures to be perceived as more ‘economy-friendly’ by their clients and the local media (press loves to know about businesses who are reaching out more these days to help working moms).. Here are just some of the things we have observed in the last several weeks; salons and spas are:
  • Bringing back longer, more flexible hours to accommodate working women and mothers (staffs are coming in earlier/staying later).
  • Offering more flexible booking policies that allow working women/men to make appointments on much shorter notice (same day, etc).
  • Increasing value-added services ‘on the house’ as a way of showing appreciation and saying ‘thank you’ to existing clients.

Example: My colorist the other day said: “Sharon, your hair is looking a little dull and dry . . . why don’t I give your ends a special ‘luxury’ conditioning treatment on the ends while your color is developing (regrowth area)? It will bring back the shine.” (Of course, you know I just loved this added dimension of client pampering . . . especially when I learned it was complimentary!)

  • Saying ‘Yes’ to mothers asking if their child (however young) can come in with them to get a haircut.

Note: Even the many salons in the country where kids are ‘taboo’ from even coming in – forget getting a cut – are now admitting that cutting the little one’s hair is now also bringing in parents, teen siblings and other family members that wouldn’t have normally come in for steady services.

Bottom line, behind every child are other prospective adult clients.  It’s all part of making things easier for ‘Mom’, especially a ‘Working Mom’.

What are you doing to ‘catch the wave’? Share in the ‘comments’ section below. You’re ones who know other ideas that work.

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7 responses to “Good PR in a Bad Economy”

  1. Bettina Roth says:

    This is a great article. I am passing this on at the next salons that I will meet.

  2. Alex says:

    Thanks Bettina. Glad you found it of value.


  3. Dee Levn says:

    You always were and always will be ahead of the game. Great article.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Dee. 🙂 Honored to have you here reading and commenting. You are one of those who truly understands how to stay fresh and fascinating, and innovate for your clients and the media. Might you consider sharing some of your amazing PR success over the years in a guest post for all of us down the road?


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  5. Araceli says:

    I woke up this morning trying to figure out “how to catch that big wave” I m so glad I read this article! This was so refreshing and inspiring to me I can’t wait to get started. My best regards to the writers ;D

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