Superbrand Loyalty Series: Hairdressing

By Rebecca Carverhill, Founder of Carving Partnerships

Many industries in the UK and worldwide were hit extraordinarily hard by the pandemic, with non-essential retail closing twice in the UK for months on end. Hairdressing was a very visible sector to fall into the ‘non-essential retail’ category, which at times was funny – providing our men the opportunity to test out Rock God and 80’s tennis star hairstyles they’d been secretly hankering after for years! And once again the pandemic highlighted industries and sectors which people really do rely upon and consider essential.

The humble hairdresser- whether it be a local independent salon, or a local TONI&GUY- is home to talented, creative, nurturing individuals who spend their days making people feel better and happier. That ‘just stepped out of a salon’ feeling really is a thing, and probably something many of us fantasised about during the deepest, darkest lockdown here in the UK. Are hairdressers one of our unsung heroes who we took for granted? I’d say yes!

Hairdressing is generally considered a happy industry. Creative souls who are fun, chatty and make their clients feel better and happier by the time they’re done with them. It’s a great mindset for both employees and clients to be in and one of the reasons that hairdressing commands so much loyalty. If a top stylist leaves a salon for another or to start their own, loyal clients will often follow and bring their custom. Years of haircuts, colours, chats, and friendships clearly matter! This is one of the reasons why global hairdressing giants TONI&GUY developed a strategy early on to educate and train junior staff at the central TONI&GUY academy in London. They then retained the best over the years by offering top talent key salon locations across the UK, and globally. This strategy served them well, as they have had 631 salons in 48 countries!

When it comes to loyalty, TONI&GUY have always had a two-pronged approach. Firstly, to reward and retain the talented staff, and offer them real global career opportunities. Tori Spencer, Manager of one of the busiest central London salons says ‘I’ve been at TONI&GUY for 24 years, since I began as a Saturday girl. Within a few years, it was clear that company growth and staff retention was really important to the company as a whole -particularly to Toni. Fast forward 20 years, and after continuous training, education, I’ve now managed and cut hair in Covent Garden for 11 years. I’m proud that I’ve been able to nurture awesome talent, who have also gone on to enjoy success with the company.’

The second prong has been to retain loyal customers through top quality services, in-salon experiences (head massages are standard), and the use of owned communication channels during the clients visit, and afterwards when at home. A real 360 approach, and one that TONI&GUY has pioneered for 18 years since they launched their in-salon communication channels of TONI&GUY.TV, their award winning fashion and lifestyle customer magazine, and 3rd party product sampling which acts like a client gifting service (think chocolate, fragrance samples, books) and helped make the clients time in salon more enjoyable. My mane takes about 3 hours to fix in the salon, so entertainment is needed!

Like with most consumer brands, TONI&GUY have also developed a digital loyalty communication strategy, and created a very welcome addition to the client communications portfolio; the TONI&GUY Rewards Card. Clients can earn points as they spend, are sent brand communications (ranging from how to look after your hair in lockdown, and all important safety tips when salons re-opened), and are sent exclusive 3rd party competitions from brands who share a great synergy with TONI&GUY.

Think Elizabeth Arden, Ren Skincare, The View From the Shard, Vilarnau Cava.

Perhaps surprisingly, the 3rd party brand competitions are the stars of the show! Clients seem to love having co-branded content delivered straight to their inbox, with luxury experiences or interesting products to win. It’s also worth noting that the TONI&GUY Rewards programme and strategy has no focus on service discounts. Loyalty can be created and maintained through well considered consistent partnerships, with the right brands and the right messages. The brand partner also has a knock on benefit of aligning with a hugely recognisable and aspirational brand, having a message delivered directly into the clients inbox, and getting their products into the hands of a sought after and very engaged audience…..who are chatty with their friends and on social media.

TONI&GUY have been clever with their staff and client strategies. Educate staff, reward them, keep them. Show gratitude to clients, reward them, keep them. Well done! 

Rebecca Carverhill is the founder of Carving Partnerships and has extensive experience working with TONI&GUY, developing partnerships and loyalty strategy. 

Contact Rebecca at rebecca@carvinguk.com, or follow her on Instagram.