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The tactic of offering a buyer the chance to experience and try a product before purchasing it has been a foundation of marketing for decades, quite simply because it works. Sampling methodologies can vary, however, and your choice can depend on your brand philosophy and position. Bumble & bumble has a basic sampling methodology for viscous creams only, that is, shampoos and conditioners, using foil packets. The company relies on the stylists then to get the product into the hands of the consumer. “Because we are a direct distributor to salon, owners purchase the product and get it into the hands of stylists who promote to consumers,” said Dina Rosenbloom, director of marketing. “Our baseline philosophy is ‘sample with purchase,’ encouraging stylists to provide clients with an item complementary to a purchased product.” In Bb.U business courses, salon owners are taught how to best maximize the potential of samples. Because Bumble and bumble is a prestige brand, prices are higher, so there are trial sizes available to entice salon customers to buy and try the product as well.
It’s no surprise that packaging is vital in today’s retail environment, even in-salon. A well-planned package speaks for itself, and a visually appealing package will pique salon owner interest because it is more likely to sell. Joico is well aware of the packaging advantage and is revitalizing its look for a March 2006 re-launch to “ignite the passion of stylists.” Sleek, streamlined and chic, the new packaging combines sensuous form and ergonomic function, featuring clean lines and a modern, angular shape and pearlized tones to evoke an artistic sensibility. The colors and shapes are designed to invite customers to pick them up and “never let go.” In addition, a bold Joico logo and clearly identifiable categories help meet consumers’ hair needs.
“It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” Partnerships with distributor stores and national accounts including Regis, Ulta and Fantastic Sams accounts, and partnering with industry organizations such as the Salon Association, the National Cosmetology Association; Cosmetologists Chicago, the Premiere Show and others allow manufacturers to generate excitement among extremely dedicated and passionate stylists from around the world.
Salon owners increasingly are conscious that the products they stock should reflect their values and convictions. Bumble and bumble, for example, supports like-minded charities not only for brand recognition, but because the manufacturer wants to support their efforts. “Bb. is very involved in neighborhood groups such as the Meat Packing District Association, Friends of the Highline, and also national charities that share our vision,” explained MacKenzie Lewis, assistant manager of public relations. This includes a range of organizations from breast cancer research to hurricane Katrina funds—all causes that affect the company on a more personal level because an employee or someone in the network is involved in one way or another. Involvement can come in many forms, from gift donations, complementary services, and being at meetings and participating in events. Salon owners looking to share a vision will find value in a sincere brand that can bring credibility to their identity.