We talk an awful lot about branding and how to make your brand noticeable, memorable and relatable for customers. Brand recognition and loyalty are priceless when you’re running a business. And while most of us understand the value of branding externally, something we rarely talk about is the importance of branding internally.
No matter what you do to achieve brand recognition outside of your store, it’s not going to mean much if that brand isn’t reflected inside the salon. If your employees don’t know what your company is all about — what your core values are — they won’t be able to convey that in your salon effectively or consistently. In other words, you might be making promises externally that aren’t being kept internally.
What this really boils down to is culture. The culture inside your business sets the foundation for how your business operates. Is your business a high-end salon with a focus on service? Are you the salon that offers a great value? Are you the salon that focuses on a fun experience? Are you membership-focused? Maybe you’re something complete different. Once you’ve determined who you are as a business and what’s important to you, you have to figure out ways to communicate and instill that in your employees. If you can’t convey that to your employees, they won’t be able to convey it to your customers.
Your brand and your business culture should be evident in all areas of your business, but especially in the hiring process. When you’re hiring in a new employee, are you taking the time to make sure your hiring documents positively reflect your business? It’s going to be hard to instill in your new employee how important professionalism and quality are when you’ve given them a mess of papers that appear to be neither professional nor quality. Are you providing your new employees with proper training? It’s tough to convey how important high standards are when you don’t provide quality training. When you hire a new employee, it’s just like with any relationship – your first impression matters. If your core values and culture are evident in the hiring process, it’s going to be a lot easier for those values to carry over into their work.
Your culture and brand should be woven into every part of your business, including the smallest details. Sending a memo to all of your employees about this month’s specials? Include something in there that reinforces your brand. Advertising your business as the high-end salon with knowledgeable staff? Make sure your staff’s appearance and product knowledge is in line with that. Let them use your equipment and products freely so they can share that knowledge. Whatever you frame your business as publicly, make sure that’s reflected in your employees.
You could have the best advertising campaign ever that gets hundreds or thousands of people flooding through your doors, but if these customers aren’t met by an employee who delivers on your promises, they probably won’t be coming back. So even when you’re doing things internally that won’t ever be seen by the public, remember that branding matters.