The 4 P’s of Creating a Breakthrough Beauty School Brand

Joe Grover

Chief Marketing Officer and Former Venture Capitalist, Arena Marketing Strategy

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The 4 P’s of Creating a Breakthrough Beauty School Brand

Hey, it’s good to be here. That was a long intro, but thank you Chris. I’m really delighted and honored to be speaking to this group of entrepreneurs and operators and marketers, and I’m excited to share just a few perspectives that I’ve learned over my career in marketing a variety of businesses in lots of different industries.


A Story Is Your Brand

One of the things that I’d like to start with is just a story. I think really I’m going to talk a lot about story and most of my presentation is how you can tell your story in a different and more distinct way to really set yourself apart from all the other competitors in the market. It’s a really noisy marketplace, as you know, and we’re all fighting for new students and enrollments. And so I hope that you can take some skills and a tool set away after I share a little bit more about my story.

I started my first business when I was in eighth grade selling these picture frames, door to door. I put a white shirt and tie because I thought that’s what salespeople did, and I knocked doors in my neighborhood. Then I started Creative Ad Agency when I was in high school producing videos. This is my first camera and my first business card. I hope I have better design sense now. I could have used Oozle Media I think when I launched this first brand. I joined a venture capital firm where we built some amazing brands, as Chris mentioned, Skull Candy and Stance where two of those investments. And so I just learned from some of the brightest and most disruptive companies. I was the CMO at a real estate startup, Proptech startup for five years. We were disrupting the real estate space. And if you like Cermix a lot, you might appreciate these three billboards that we have in a row here in the local market.

The Old and New 4 “P’s” of Marketing

And so my question today is what can we learn as beauty schools from some of the biggest and most disruptive and effective breakthrough brands?

If you’ve ever studied marketing there’s four P’s, Product, what you’re offering, how much you charge for it, where are you going to distribute those services and or product and how you’re going to promote it. Today I’ll focus mostly on promotion and we’re going to talk about maybe four new P’s of marketing, Point of View, Purpose, Personality, and Proof. See, the interesting thing is people and students, they are looking for something different in their life. They’re looking for a different path and the way we tell this story has to be different. They really are looking for what we’re selling them, and the way we articulate how we’re different in the marketplace is essential to us really driving an effective marketing strategy.

First “P” of Marketing: Point of View

And so this first P is Point of View, because this creates connection with the consumers. I think the marketers and the entrepreneurs that can articulate the pain that our prospective customer is feeling will have the most success in converting that customer. See consumers, they don’t really care about a solution until we can really connect with them and help them understand that we understand what they need, what their problem is, what their pain point in their life is. So we just need to create a simple, direct, visceral story about the pain and problem that we’re solving with our school. We need to tell that in a vivid way that students can relate to, that prospects can relate to. I think Cotopaxi and maybe Patagonia are obviously not in this space, but have really tight points of view. They understand what problem they’re solving.

For Patagonia, there’s a real environmental slant. They said they’re trying to build products that last for a very long time in a way that doesn’t affect the environment and nature and their customers feel that. They understand that point of view and they spend a premium price for that product. Cotopaxi actually takes remnants of materials in factories and they create unique bags. Every bag is unique to repurpose all of this waste. And so they have a real focus in doing good while building amazing products.

The Second “P” of Marketing: Purpose

So the second P is Purpose. And who doesn’t love the Backstreet Boys? I actually saw the Backstreet Boys in concert a few years back. Tell me why someone should consider going to your school, enrolling in your school? Tell me why you exist? And that’s different. That’s different for every single school. You all have your unique stories and the purpose behind why you exist, and sharing that in a way that connects with students, with prospects and customers can create what I call an irrational loyalty. And really they want to know why you exist and they want to connect. They’re looking for a personality of a brand and we’re going to talk about that next, that fits their personality. And so I think that this is one of the pieces that if you get really good at articulating the why behind what you do, then you will be far more effective in converting customers online or offline.

The Third “P” of Marketing: Personality

Personality. So everything starts to look alike after a while, whatever industry you’re in because we’re all taking cues from each other. And that’s okay to a certain respect. We can find inspiration in other beauty schools and brands, but the reality is we need to define our own personality. And what that is, I’m going to come back to this, is that the unique character, it’s our point of view and our purpose and how we tell that story. Every brand interaction from your receptionist to your admissions or enrollment counselors to an online ad has to reflect this. And it needs to be authentic to you and what your school is about.

Brand personality has this ability to humanize your brand as well, and it develops affinity more quickly with the target customer so it can shorten the sales cycle. I love this from Ignite. Brian Lischer said, and I think we all know this, that “We defend the brands that we identify with and we denounce the brands we object to.” And isn’t that true? And so our personality can be a really key differentiator in how we are presenting our offering in the marketplace.

The Phoenix Challenge

I’m going to share an example of this. And again, this is not a tactic necessarily. This is just an example of we had a problem and we had launched this real estate offering in Phoenix, which is one of the most competitive real estate markets in the country. And we needed a cost effective way to create awareness. It’s a very local business where many of your companies are local. And so we were struggling with online ads, they weren’t converting as well as we needed. So we came up with this idea. This was more of a gorilla marketing campaign, but I think it speaks to the personality of what we were building at Homie. This was the Vote for Homie senatorial campaign. And what we found out is that the Supreme Court had a ruling that would protect any advertising during an election cycle as long as you abided by the right of way rules and regulations and the signs were a certain size. It didn’t matter whether or not you were actually running for an office. So we launched this Vote for Homie campaign and we launched billboards and we launched a website that talked about our point of view and it was a little bit cryptic.

In fact, we pushed this through all the local media channels. And then one day, I think I’m going to skip this because you won’t be able to. One day Chuck Todd was out there with MSNBC for this senatorial campaign and they saw all these Vote for Homie signs, 500 all over the greater Phoenix area. And so then we are on national news. We are a regional PropTech business and they’re talking about Homie on national news. This was part of the kind of disruptive personality that we had formed around the brand. We amplified all that on social media and the return was amazing. For every dollar we invested in this PR, which mostly was just the printing of the signs, we got $86 in return. We had $650,000 of earned media value and impressions we could have never afforded over the course of a year to spend that much in advertising. So identify what your personality is, how you want to position yourself in the market with your prospects, and then lean in and be creative about how you tell that story.

The Fourth “P” of Marketing: Proof

nd finally, Proof. I loved an earlier panelist or speaker was talking about social proof and this cannot be underestimated, we all know it. We talked about some great tactics during this conference on how we do this effectively. But as I was talking to Jeremy Andrus, who is the CEO of Traeger grills that has almost a cult-like following with their pellet grills. Who would’ve thought? He said that that is their unfair advantage. Your customers, those students, they become your loudest voice. They become the most powerful way to tell your story. They become raving fans and they will become, they probably already are, your number one acquisition channel. And so it’s so critical that you cultivate this, cultivate those fans, make it easy for them to share with their friends and family. Make it easy for them to share online. There’s probably 20% of your clients and students that will do 80% of the heavy lifting when it comes to telling that story online. Find them, engage them, incentivize them, activate them, prop them up. Think of them as an extension of your marketing team and your marketing effort. This proof is critical in really building your brand in the environment we’re in today. It takes a lot more than paid advertising, which can be a critical piece to really start the flywheel to lower acquisition costs and to go grow your brand more organically.

The New Four “P’s” of Marketing: Recap

So these four P’s of marketing, I think are the new four P’s of marketing, can be essential to building your brand and your business. Point of View, Purpose, Personality and Proof. Again, Point of View, really understand the problem, understand what they’re looking for, understand their pain point, and articulate that in video, in copy on your website, in ads. And if you do that, that will become an instant hook for them. Rather than always pushing our solutions, we need to make sure we articulate what their pain is and why they would join us. Why is critical? Tell me why. That is the purpose. That’s why you exist. It’s beyond, we’re going to give you an education and we’re going to help you make more money. That’s a key piece of it, no doubt. But what is the individual why for your school? Why do you exist? How do you tell that story?

Personality? How are you going to connect with those potential customers? What are the unique creative ways that you’re going to cut through the noise to tell that story so that you’re not looking like everyone else and having the same results as everyone else? And social Proof will be critical to really grow your business over the long term.

So today, in fact, I’m a fractional CMO, so I consult with a number of different brands across industries. And one of the brands that I’m working with today is actually a company called V School, which is not in the beauty school space, but my focus with this brand is probably very similar to yours. It’s about enrollment. It’s about giving both veterans as well as other non-veteran kind of students, the opportunity to get into a career in tech. So every day I’m thinking about these four P’s and the veteran’s story has been such a big part of what V School has built. And so as I’ve gone through this, I think, and even as I’ve listened to some of the presentations throughout today, there’s been such good content, such interesting tactics that are proven, great perspectives and principles and I’ve just gleaned a lot.

Need More Info? Get in Touch With Joe!

I think great branding transcends industry. And I think you have a unique opportunity with your partnerships and with Oozle Media and a lot of this great content to build a brand that is distinct, to tell your story in a way that’s never been told before, and that will be a tailwind for your business and help you to grow at a lower cost over the long term.

So thank you so much. This is my email address. Feel free, if you have questions for me, I will respond to every email that is sent to me. And I am just really honored to be here with this amazing group of entrepreneurs and business owners.

Chris Linford:
Yes, Joe, thank you so much. Everybody put in the chat, show Joe some love. Again, if you want to get ahold of him, I mean, you have to build your marketing on a foundation like this. It’s crucial for long-term success. All this information, really, really, really good information. Joe, thank you so much.