The new normal in a post Covid-19 world include one major shift in the way business will be conducted. There are a lot of new businesses have been created and the key to survival is classical segmentation.
Businesses and brands are now are making their way back into the business; planning their communication plans for a new world post the covid-19 lockdown.
In this story of Medianews4u’s super successful brand series, Back to Business, we spoke to Vikram Bhatt – Founder & Director, Enrich Salon
How are you coping up with the impact of Covid-19 on your brand & the Organization? How effectively have you used the lock-down period?
The lockdown period has been utilized in revisiting our SOPs we have been meticulously following for over more than a decade. Most of the things like using disposables… were already in place. We have further made it stringent, to ensure the safety of our customers and staff. The teams have undergone online training to be abreast with latest industry trends in beauty and grooming. Likewise, teams were trained to adapt to the new norms. Various motivational sessions have been conducted to ensure the employee morale is not disturbed.
The teams have worked day in and out to ensure the salons are equipped with best in class safety measures once we resume. A survey was conducted with 15k customers across our 6 cities to get insights from their valuable feedback and make the SOP creation a very inclusive process. We also had a “Call is well” initiative where 70k customers were reached out by hair and skin experts to check on the customers they have served, help them with self-care tips, share DIY videos – it was a great connect and was well received by the customers. An arrangement to provide self-care beauty products to customers at their door steps was made too. In terms of business, like all retail organizations – we are affected too. However, we feel amongst all non – essential services, the grooming industry will be the most resilient. The customer vibes are positive, there is a pent up demand. Eventually things will fall in place.
At an organizational level, the teams have come together like always to give their best, find solutions and make the system even more robust. As mentioned, most of the things are already in place. At Enrich, we have been using sanitizers for over five years, single-use product kits for ten years and disposable capes, sheets, towels for over twelve years now. We are the only CIDESCO, Switzerland certified salon in India. We are the first salon chain in India to have the Trusted Mark by IRF. The certifications speak for themselves. We have revised our Hygiene & Quality SOP with inputs from BWSSC, the medical team at AIIMS and Ministry of Skill Education and our teams have been trained in these SOPs.
At a brand level, Enrich is always been looked up with respect in the industry for our thought leadership and the services rendered over the years. With the revised efforts taken complemented with appropriate communication, the vibes are all positive. It’s a phase that will pass soon, make us stronger and even better.
While the country is becoming Covid-19 free and the lockdown being eased out, with salons and other facilities now opening up how are you planning to resume your business?
We have resumed in all the 6 cities now. Customers are quite happy with the care we have taken in rendering the services. The customer will have apprehensions initially. However, once they see the consistency in the efforts put in ensuring the client and the salon team’s safety things will fall in place. This transition and expecting a recovery in operation will take at least a year from the date we have reopened. Our team members in Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Vadodara & Surat have been operating with these for over a month now and we are happy to report that we have had zero cause to worry so far. We have extended our otherwise home services to women to men also. We are also reaching out to societies for grooming needs at their premises.
The newly defined guidelines to keep COVID-19 at bay includes stringent hygiene protocols to be followed – Customer will be provided with a personal protection kit comprising – mask, gloves, body robe, shoe cover, ABS key, sanitizer.
Temperature checks, health assessment via app
Likewise the salon team will have a similar kit with additional components like – face shield mask, and head cover
Cash and Mobile sterilizer
Pedal sanitizers at the salon entrance
Sensor based sanitizers inside the salon
StepnPull mechanism to pull the door without touching the hand
A dedicated area for multiple services to ensure no exposure for long hours across various salon touch points.
Acrylic separators for nail colour service and facial have been arranged to ensure distance is maintained.
Threading with tweezers
Waxing – only cartridge wax to ensure single use
Few body services will be paused till the covid-19 situation normalizes completely
Likewise continuous disinfection, sterilization before and after services, and many such granular level detailing has been factored in the new hygiene SOP.
For the home salon – all the measures applicable for the home set up will be taken. The therapists will travel from the salon to nearby locations only with all the precautionary measures in place.
What will be your communication strategy post the opening of the lock-down? Understandably bringing customers back to you would be difficult… What will be the objective of the communication/marketing strategy?
The core messaging is going to be centered on the safety measures we have adopted. Building confidence and assuring customers of their safety concerns is the key.
Me to we campaign –
We released a poem “Jimmedari Hamari Hai” which has struck a chord with all the key stakeholders – customers, our experts, and employees – the industry at large.
Likewise, our social media handles have various snippets around the granular level detailing adopted in hygiene measures. Each one is safe, if all of us our safe – is the key messaging.
How did you keep the morale of the employees during this lockdown period? On a personal note, what kept you positive?
As an organization, we are deep rooted in Fairness, Ownership, Respect, Empathy, Nurture, Relationship, Integrity, Co-operation, and Honesty. (For enrich)
The employees have been pretty cooperative during these tough times. Likewise we have ensured, there is no downsizing. We have ensured they are not losing out on any learnings, the online trainings and assessments keep them abreast with the skills they need to be equipped with. We are continuously in touch with employees through calls, surveys to gain insights and take appropriate actions on their needs. There are fun engagement activities are arranged as well. The upgradation programs, certifications are on for the employees. They have been trained for the new norms.
The hope and belief about the better tomorrow keeps us going. Our country for that matter has gone through various natural calamities, economic crisis, still we have revived and emerged successful as well – these examples are the light at the end of a tunnel. The stronger we stay now, will help us emerge better tomorrow.
The quest for a solution to a particular crisis helps invent new business opportunities and sometimes leads to a revision of existing business models … What sort of innovation will the Covid-19 pandemic bring to your brand & industry?
A stringent revised SOP on hygiene and safety coupled with focus on self-care product sale on ecommerce, home services been extended to men as well.
The industry has really come together and has collaborated well to address few common challenges like new business norms, customer awareness, best people practices etc. At the same time each of us have to work towards becoming Atmanirbhar in this changed environment and be in complete charge of self and to be able to survive in short term, then sustain and scale up. At enrich, we are firm believers of a need “from me to we”. We launched a ‘Me to We’ campaign to encourage a new outlook to tackle the on-going pandemic.
Enrich, has for long stood as an ally with their customers in their quest to like themselves more, This thought has been underlined in their brand tag line, which for years has been ’love begins with you’ The idea being that this self-acceptance is the starting point to self-esteem. By making people look good, which in turn makes them feel good about themselves is what the brand sees as their role in the lives of customers.
The custodians of the brand learnt an important lesson from the ongoing pandemic. It is no longer only about yourselves regardless of whether you are a country, business, city, community, neighbourhood, residential society, household and family. Given the contagious nature of the virus, the only way it can now be contained is if we all think not just about ourselves but of others too. The mask we wear safeguards others, their mask saves us. We stay indoors to prevent it affecting us as much as it prevents us from spreading it further. The realisation is that each one of us is safe only when all of us are safe.
This new insight and learning, that fundamentally changes the way all of us have to behave is reflected in a change in the brands baseline – from ‘love begins with you’ which was the earlier definition, to ‘ love begins with us’ . Through this campaign, Enrich is prompting people to think about others and not just stopping at “me”. This new thinking and shift has been communicated to the customers and all stakeholders through a campaign that uses ‘ME to WE’ as the term to make the viewer comprehend and remember this change.
Enrich has been seeding in this thought in all their activities. The brand has been giving back to the community by going an extra mile in helping the needy, supporting the retail employees with monetary assistance amongst other things; all emphasising on the “Me to We” thought process. To make it an inclusive process, the brand surveyed 15,000+ customers across Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangalore, Vadodara, Surat and co-created the stringent hygiene protocol for customer and the salon team safety against Covid-19. The protocols detailed as a part of the campaign communication brings alive necessary rituals for customer and salon team’s safety once business resumes. Inspired by what once Martin Luther King, Jr. said never be what I ought to be, unless you are what you ought to be, this campaign by Enrich brings alive the inter-related structure of reality.
The core message and its rendition has received good response from the audience and they have witnessed great engagement on their social media on related posts.
Keeping their brand promise of serving customers in the best possible way at all times; they launched a unique initiative called ‘Call is Well.’ This activity was spearheaded by the servicing staff by providing personalized on-call assistance by reaching out individually to clients. The expert beauticians and hairstylists guided them on self-care during lockdown and also checked-in to see how they’re doing. This was a huge success as clients were missing their salon routines and were unsure how to maintain themselves. With 70,000+ calls made by the professionals; the activity was a well-received by clients. While serving customers in salons was not an option, this was the closest the brand could get to serving them. Brand Enrich has set the way by taking cognizance of the learning from this worldwide pandemic and harnessed it into a new way of thinking for the brand that is more inclusive and effective as we all work together to address the situation. The well-being of our community, team and customers is paramount; hence these initiatives are our way of reaching and building a support system. Each of us (hairstylists, beauty therapist, salon managers or the backend team, management) are getting into a partnership belief – e.g. On People Cost; shift from Fixed Pay + Inventive to “Revenue Sharing” so that it is fair for all in short term but more rewarding for people who adopt what is relevant today – this shift is likely to be permanent for the world.
Can you elaborate on the overview of your industry?
The size of organized salon industry is about 10,000 crores and growing in double digits for the past few years. The need of look and feel good and change in lifestyle of urban population will continue the same growth trajectory for the next decade or so. People are very particular about how they look and present themselves, it’s a matter of their self -esteem – hence grooming and beauty industry is here to stay.
The impact to salon business is exactly the same what it is for any retail or consumer-facing business.
We have to regain customers trust and confidence and assure them of best possible standards in safety and hygiene. Consistency in efforts in implementing the change will eventually build confidence and put things in place.