Marketing guru and New York Times best-selling author Seth Godin kicked off ISPA’s Stronger Together Summit today (10 May) with an insightful keynote Power Session about the benefits of using creative, remarkable thinking to transform spa businesses' ideas and practices.
Godin began by emphasising that spa businesses need to strengthen their commitment to understanding the importance of their brand and clarity of messaging.
He was keen to highlight the difference between a logo and brand, so used the following example: "If Hyatt launched a line of sneakers, people would be unsure what these may look like. But if Nike announced it was going to launch a hotel group, people would have a strong sense of what this would be like.
“The difference is, Hyatt has a logo and Nike has a brand,” he explained, “a brand is a promise about what to expect from you. As we come out of this crazy time, this is the moment for you and your spa team to decide what is your brand.
“Make your positions really clear - there are so many different directions you can go in to differentiate yourself and this represents an opportunity.”
Godin believes authenticity and establishing your story are both crucial parts of branding as they help businesses stand out and resonate with consumers.
“Our goal is not to be generic. Don’t be replaceable. Be remarkable with a story that resonates, something that’s unique enough that makes it hard to replace.”
Knowing your audience
Godin advised spa businesses to use their story to establish themselves and pinpoint their customer base.
He recommended using long-term thinking to target a small viable audience who will commit to business in the long term.
“We’re not making average stuff for average people, we’re doing work that matters for people who care.”
Commitment like this is worthwhile because these people are more likely to continue investing and supporting your business because they believe in you, your story and your concept.
“Modern marketing is what we call it when you show up in the world to help somebody else in the world to get where they’re going – you’re not hustling, promoting yourself, hyping or figuring how to fill your chairs or rooms,” he said.
“Marketing is the work of practical empathy, don’t make consumers come to you, you go to them.”
By knowing your audience and what they want, you’re setting the stage for a fruitful relationship with great potential for new similar-minded customers to be gained via word of mouth.
He said that part of this means being selective and measured with social media strategy.
“You don’t need to put on a show if you’ve earned the permission to talk to the people who you want to talk to.”
Allocation of services in demand
ISPA chair Patrick Huey closed the Power Session with a Q&A section.
Huey asked Godin what advice he had for the industry during a time where it’s experiencing high demand for services and limited supply, due to new COVID safety restrictions.
Godin said the first pitfall to avoid would be trying to please everyone, otherwise, spas risk compromising on the quality and commitment they have to each customer.
“You’re being overwhelmed by people that need your services. No one needs your services, people want them,” he said.
Godin suggested that spas should recognise they have limited supply and then make an intelligent decision on how to allocate it.
He suggested that spas could perhaps double prices so people would view their services as a luxury product, meaning they would have to honour that promise by delivering luxury service.
Or, spas could use preferential treatment which would appeal to people from a status perspective.
Godin’s final advice to spas was to make sure they are “specific, consistent, empathic, tell their true story to people who want to hear it and ultimately help these people get to where they want to go.”
Today's Power Session was the first of three to be hosted during this week’s conference, and was sponsored by Eminence Organic Skin Care.
The remaining sessions will be led by workforce expert Seth Mattison (Wednesday 12 May, 1-2pm EDT) and service excellence guru Dr Bryan K. Williams on Friday 14 May, 1-2:15PM GMT +1).
About Seth Godin
By focusing on everything from effective marketing and leadership, to the spread of ideas and changing everything, Godin has been able to motivate and inspire countless people around the world.
Named one of Time Magazine's Top 25 Best Blogs, Godin has over one million subscribers and has published over 7,000 blog posts since its launch over a decade ago.
Godin is an internationally recognised speaker and popular blogger who has written countless posts about marketing, innovative ideas, business leadership and maintaining drive in the face of adversity.
He has also published 18 best-selling books and his most recent book, This is Marketing, was an instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller.
As an entrepreneur, Godin has founded dozens of companies including altMBA, Squidoo, Yoyodyne and is the former VP of direct marketing at Yahoo. In 2013, Godin was one of just three professionals inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame.