In any industry, a good concept, a clear identity and an instantly recognisable brand can be the difference between having a great business that succeeds and one that doesn’t. The question is, what is that concept and how should you brand it?
Making a start
Your spa concept should start with your business plan; you know where your business will be based and need to know what demographic it will appeal to. At this point you should also identify your overarching concept: what is going to set you apart from your competition? If you haven’t got a clear idea, then start with your personal values and interests.
Are you interested in organic products? What about aromatherapy? Will you be focused on express pick-me-ups or luxurious, high-end treatments? Part of your business concept will be influenced by your own interests and part of it will be influenced by the customers and clientele you want and are likely to be able to attract.
The answers to the questions above, and similar ones, will form the basis of your business offering and identity. They will affect everything from the products you use, the treatments that you offer and the prices that you charge, to design and interiors, your logo and marketing and even the staff you employ.
Your business approach and strategy should be consistent and your clients should at every point be able to identify that this is you, even if they can’t spot your logo. You should also make sure to pick a name that evokes what you are trying to achieve and a brand strapline that clearly demonstrate what you offer.
Chatting to a group of people the other day, I asked them, “What is a brand?” The response I was given was one of the best definitions of a brand I have ever heard: “Your brand is a set of promises that you make to yourself and your clients, and a level of expectation that you set, then meet or exceed”.
I really liked this definition because instead of talking about your logo or chosen colours, it focuses on your ethos and what makes your business unique and that’s exactly what you should be looking to capture with your concept. The best way to illustrate how to successfully develop a spa concept and carry it through is to show how two different UK businesses have done just that.
Hoar Cross Hall
Hoar Cross Hall is a place I associate with weekends away with my girlfriends, with opulence, luxury and heritage. It is set in a country manor and the identity reflects that. There is a logo drawing on the history of the property, décor that hints at long past eras and frequent use of words such as classic and luxury. Hoar Cross Hall has also optimised its offering by featuring an extensive spa and stocking premier brands such as Elemis and Clarins.
The Potting Shed Spa
For me, The Potting Shed Spa represents rustic luxury and a quick pick-me-up in a home away from home setting. They use play-on-words such as “a little thyme for you” and “manscaping” the refer back to the garden theme and in addition to the skincare products you would expect to be able to purchase, items for sale also include garden gnomes. The Potting Shed Spa is a small and cosy space, kitted out with terracotta pots, flowers and plenty of farmhouse appeal.
Both of these spas have had a strong concept and idea from the very beginning, one they have successfully infused into everything that they do. They are clear in their promises to their customers, and meet them without fail, and that’s a pretty strong concept. As a result, they have a strong repeat clientele, and plenty of media coverage.
Angie Petkovic is the managing director of Apt PR, a UK marketing and PR agency whose clients include spas and other business across the beauty, hospitality, leisure and tourism industries