Guest blog: creating a successful spa brand and the importance of a USP

Clare Cockell, founder and chief executive of The Reef Spa, which has two sites in Kent, reveals how successful branding and a strong USP will set your spa apart

Your brand is everything. It’s what the business is about and how it’s recognised, but not everyone thinks about or creates a brand within their business. Quite often people tend to open a business, get a nice logo and that’s it – they don’t consistently follow the brand through.

Why is brand so important?
When you think of companies like Apple and McDonalds you immediately have an idea of the colours they use, what their advertising is like and the sort of service you’ll receive. You have a preconception of what to expect – how powerful is that!

A customer should see your spa name and instantly have a feeling of what you’re about. This is created by many things: the customer journey, theme, the consistent message conveyed – i.e. how you speak on social media, your website, advertising – and more.

The secret to creating a successful brand
Have a think about your business and what your unique selling point (USP) is – what makes you different? Why do you stand out? Then answer these questions:

Your answers should be the backbone to what you do next. For example:

Employees – hire team members with your brand in mind. I always hire people on their values before their skills because skills can be taught. A team that have similar values and outlook to you has already bought into your business – the way you do things, how the customer is treated etc. This only strengthens your spa, keeps the service consistent and gains the customers buy-in too. For an interesting read, I’d recommend Tony Hseish’s book Delivering Happiness.

Message – if your business is understated luxury, aiming for a subtle and calm approach, and you suddenly send out an email or social media post that is loud and tongue-in-cheek then it will more than likely scare your customers. They will think: “What’s happened? That’s not the business I know”.

By not defining the business, mixed messages will be delivered. Your business tone of voice, when consistent with your values, builds trust. Inconsistency means your spa can get lost in the competition and not attract the right customers with the values to match your business. Try creating templates for your emails, and imagery, which you can just edit each time you need them. Taking the time to plan and schedule emails and social media posts also gives structure.

Imagery – in everything you do, from adverts, business cards and the website, to consultation forms and gift vouchers, replicate your brand colours, logo and images every time.

Advertising – always remember to include your logo and tagline (if you have one) in your advertising and marketing. You will also need to define who your ideal client is in order to advertise to them most effectively. For example, if your main customer group is retired women advertise with your local WI and in magazines relevant to them, or if your focus is on pregnancy treatments find local groups (online or in person) for expectant mums – birthing units, coffee shops etc. You really need to analyse your clients and where you can reach them.