Our new concept, PENZONE Salons + Spas, and recent rebranding efforts, have shown us just how important creating a community of brand evangelists can be. While we’re certainly not experts, we’ve learned a lot along the way. Below, find a few helpful strategies that we’ve implemented — and continue to tweak — as we work on building out our new community.
Make yourself community-worthy
Make your product, whatever it is, desirable and different than anything else like it. Even if the concept is the same, do things to make your business different. Is it little touches? An emphasis on human connection and always putting the guest first? Whatever your offering, make sure that it’s interesting.
Become something bigger
Within your community, create a rich experience that people can learn something from. For us, that experience has developed into an event strategy to garner attention and drive new foot traffic.
Maybe you’re a complete subject matter expert in your field of business — share your knowledge. Or, maybe you provide a platform for your customers to better themselves in ways they didn’t even know existed.
For us, a Beauty Lab to share the latest trends in makeup and how-to styling tips is a natural fit. An Evening of Enlightenment to share the benefits of a plant-based diet or a LIT Life + Yoga popup focusing on balance and meditation — both topics are a little outside of the typical realm of our expertise, but relatable. We’re not pretending to be experts in either, but we are partnering with businesses that are.
Regardless of what you do, make it interesting to your target audience — give your customers the value they didn’t even know they needed.
If your brand is established like ours, perhaps with a reputation that doesn’t quite fit your new concept, the best way to change it is to show, not tell.
Develop partnerships with aspirational groups and invite them into your business space to experience it for themselves. Perhaps they need a space to host monthly meetings. Perhaps they want to offer your services as a perk to their employees. Regardless, if there’s an opportunity to partner with a like-minded business, do it! You’ll expand your network and your community will certainly grow as a result.
We’re incredibly lucky to have an extremely loyal guest base that’s been with us, in many cases, from the beginning. We’ve found that acquisition of new guests is challenging. That’s where this community idea comes in again with social influencer marketing.
By identifying and focusing on influential people in our local social market, and inviting them to experience our offerings, their authentic review and storytelling, we hope, will influence others with whom they’re connected. The impressions and exposure are broad, so bring it home with a gift or giveaway to expand right into that potential customer pool.
Looking to remain competitive in an ever-changing market? Consider building out your community of advocates to become the brand evangelists you need to keep on winning big in business.
Debbie Penzone is the president and CEO of Charles Penzone Inc. Debbie’s expertise as a business leader, hair professional and her avid philanthropy have earned her the respect of the salon industry and the nonprofit community. She has been recognized as one of the 20 most remarkable women in Central Ohio, one of the 20 most intriguing salon owners and was a Smart 50 winner.