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Whats NEXT? Beauty professionals care about their careers and growing businesses while maintaining their personal lives. They think about what’s next and what’s in store for their future. To be successful, they must stay on top of the latest trends, fads, styles, and products, all while running their businesses.

Our Take On Things. Every beauty professional’s dream is to start their own business, locate a high-quality environment, and build a name and quality reputation. They aspire to grow their business, expand, add staff, and make a good living. Most stylists and beauty pros don’t have a name or brand recognition; they struggle with differentiating themselves through a sea of competition. The ones that realize growth are more often to do so organically over time through word of mouth and client referrals. They bank on building a clientele and creating repeat customers.

Many have started their businesses before realizing that running a salon is not as easy as they thought. Soon after opening their doors, they find themselves trapped in endless challenges that exhaust them. As a whole, salon owners struggle to keep their heads above water. Their issues and opportunities seem to have no end, and their businesses sap their time and energy, day and night. Typically these people consider themselves creatively-minded entrepreneurs; many are eclectic by nature with artist-type personalities and are not always the strongest when taking a disciplined approach needed to run and grow their businesses.

When broadly considering marketing and advertising, you must first stop your audience and gain their attention before expecting them to read and understand your value proposition. Like all forms of communications, beyond beer associated with good times and diamond jewelry associated with devotion,  there are proven vital factors that drive successful marketing; relevancy, a targeted creative/media approach, and consistent messages delivered through frequent or multiple impressions over a sustained period; many call this branding; we call, it marketing 101.

After reviewing the existing Salon Suite Solution website, and prior communications as S3’s competition, Vagaro, SolaGenius, BookNow, and others, we felt something was lacking; we believed there was a disconnect in how S3 and their competitors presented their solutions to their target audiences. The lack of stimulating visuals and creative content we felt needed to make the desired connections. Most presented a more pragmatic approach, combining technology and salon images to protect their software technology. We believed this approach was not the most effective and could often be ignored by beauty professionals.

Creative Positioning. We planned to promote Next–Powered by S3 as a powerful, all-encompassing software solution specifically designed for salon professionals with features that deliver significant value. As a Software As A Service (SaaS), Next, a smart, user-friendly mobile and desktop solution that helps efficiently manage.

We suggested creating a brandable persona for their software. We would create a marketable personality, assign it a name, and wrap imagery around it. The name we suggested was “Next.” Next: A word used to represent the future or a slang phrase that defines better. The steps one takes next often determine the future.

We recommend that S3 create a marketable brand name for its software and a themed campaign that would be supplemental to and complementary to the S3 brand and stylists' ongoing administrative tasks that involve running a successful salon. Our job was to get this audience to notice and adopt the S3 Next solution.

First, we decided to capture interest visually, then deliver value propositions. When considering salon professionals who work in the beauty industry, we believed we should recognize their connection to the fashion industry. Beauty professionals and stylists look to keep a close eye on the fashion industry, viewing photographs of models in fashion magazines and websites for tips, trends, and the latest styles. With this in mind, combined with their artistic/creative mindset, told us that two types of imagery should likely appeal to and relate to them. New, aspirational, and eclectic photographs representing fashion and trends should appeal to them when combined with the word Next. This imagery could be expressive of their creative self-image or sublimely how they envision their salon or taking their work to that next level.

Communication Recommendations. We used Next as our creative platform, played primarily across direct digital and select printed media: a recurring campaign theme applied to many impressions and delivered consistently over time. The campaign consisted of 15 impressions (per quarter). These impressions included email, texts, social media, digital ads (delivered/pushed through the S3 network), explainer animated videos, a product demo and three printed communications, a branded display poster, a multi-panel brochure, and an oversized postcard direct mail piece. The theme, look and feel, and messaging were also integrated into the Salon Suites Solutions website. In many cases, we’ve found that direct communication campaigns incorporate a mix of digital and printed media to deliver a higher audience response and produce better results.

As we launched this campaign, our strategy included introducing and positioning, Next – Powered by S3 as the nation's an industry-leading salon/studio software solution, preferred by salon professionals, beginning the campaign by promoting the collective value that your solution delivers. After the initial launch/introduction, we focused on specific benefits and attributes of Next. Why did we do this? Because one feature may have been perceived as more valuable or essential than another by individuals. This approach allowed us to cover all bases, promoting specific software features such as booking, scheduling, bill pay, lead generation, and more. We also considered that the audience might be reluctant to adopt S3’s new application. The audience might already be using another booking app. We promoted Next as being the next big thing, a much more powerful and significant than other options; we knew we had a good shot at expanding the audience’s thoughts to S3’s strengths against the other’s weaknesses of taking a more one-dimensional approach, then persuade them to download and experience Next.

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