How Franchise Marketing Is Adapting to Covid-19 at Sola Salon Studios
As part of our ongoing coverage of Covid-19 and its effects on franchising, we’re asking franchise leaders what they’re doing to help their franchisees with consumer marketing and development during the crisis. Here’s what Lori Merrall, director of franchise development at Sola Salon Studios had to say. If you have a story to tell about what you’re doing to support your franchisees, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are you doing differently with your franchise marketing program in the wake of Covid-19?
Right now, our focus has shifted to providing support programs for our existing community members – both our franchisees and our stylists – to ensure they have all the information and tools they need to get through the crisis.
From a franchisee perspective, we’ve put a hold on our recruitment ads and other digital marketing efforts. We know that right now many are not considering making additional investments, and that’s totally understandable. Our franchisees are small businesses owners, many of which own other franchise concepts, so we know all too well what they’re going through right now. We want to be sensitive and respectful of that.
By contrast, from a stylist perspective, we have not halted our marketing efforts to drive leads on the stylist front, as we know that beauty professionals are still looking for information about leasing studios, particularly now with what the overall industry is experiencing. But, because our customers are independent salon owners whose businesses are impacted by mandated salon closures (including our own), it’s important that we keep them engaged during this period and help our franchisees disseminate important communications around closures, government support and ongoing timely education.
We launched a COVID-19 Resource Center for our beauty professionals to access important information: www.solasalonstudios.com/covid19. It has blogs, webinar recordings, a virtual education calendar, financial resources, downloadable social media content, inspiration and more, meant to serve as an all-in-one place for them to go to and reference as needed.
As a brand, we have remained optimistic that we’ll find ourselves on steady ground once again soon. In the meantime, we’ve encouraged our community to continue to uplift each other and share positive stories through social media. To help drive this, we recently launched a podcast called “Sola Stories,” where we’re sharing stylist stories, business and marketing tips, as well as best practices to help keep our community inspired and banded together, even while we have to be apart.
What are your plans for the next 60 days (April & May)?
We have shifted our marketing strategy fully for the next 60 days and are focused on a message of support and community. We are hosting regular virtual events for our community and are inviting all beauty professionals to join us. We will continue marketing with a modified budget according to decreased revenues. We have also created resources for our owners for their communication to customers (the stylists), and also what is going to be available to them in lending, how to speak to landlords, and guidance and checklists for closures, etc.
What are your plans for the following 90 days (June, July, August)?
Things related to this pandemic are changing by the day, so it’s difficult to plan anything beyond the immediate future. Our focus at this time is the next 60 days, and we’ll adjust as needed to best support our franchisees and stylists through this time of uncertainty.
Have you made major changes to your franchisee recruitment program or sales process? How did you determine which to change?
We are not actively spending as much on digital marketing efforts, but our overall strategy has not changed. While lead flow is down and it’s difficult for people to make an investment or buying decision now, we are still working people through the discovery process with the thought that when this passes, they will be ready to move ahead. We are maintaining communication with candidates and are checking in with them on a personal level rather than trying to “close a sale.”
Have you made any changes to the roles or duties of your team?
Our team is all hands on deck to help our franchisees and stylist community navigate the current crisis. Everyone is stepping up to take on different responsibilities to help us get everything done quickly and efficiently.
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