Stories from the Covid-19 Front Lines: CDO Q&A with Lori Merrall of Sola Salon Studios
Name: Lori Merrall
Title: Director of Franchise Development
Company: Sola Salon Studios
Segment: Salon studios
Locations: U.S., Canada, Brazil
What are you doing differently with your franchise marketing program as a result of Covid-19?
Right now, our focus has shifted to providing support programs for our existing community members to ensure they have the information and tools they need to get through the crisis. Because our customers are independent salon owners whose businesses are affected by salon closures, it’s important that we keep them engaged during this period and help our franchisees disseminate important communications around closures, government support, and other ongoing, timely education. We have not halted our marketing efforts to drive leads though, as we know that beauty professionals are still looking for information about leasing studios. We also launched a Covid Resource Center for our beauty professionals to access important information.
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 also have 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 are changing by the day. I think we need to get through the next 60 days first.
Have you made major changes to your franchisee recruitment program or sales process?
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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