What’s the “face” of your tanning salon? It should be someone with a beautiful tan and a happy, successful and active lifestyle to go with it. If this is the image you want your business to have, then you need to find your own “tanning ambassador.”
Adam Lang and Peyton Peeples have worked hard to cultivate an upscale and professional image for their salon chain, Aspen Tan. Based in the ski resort town of Aspen, CO, Adam and Peyton’s choices in premiere locations, décor and tanning equipment has helped establish this reputation, as does their staff and the customer service they offer. The people chosen to represent the salons to the community – called “Aspen Tan Ambassadors” – have helped cement the business’s reputation as one that serves people who lead exciting and active lifestyles. Insisting that any salon can have success with tanning ambassadors, Adam and Peyton are happy to share how to make it happen!
So what’s an “Aspen Tan Ambassador,” anyway? As Adam Lang explains it, “We recruit some of our clients to serve as models in our social media and print advertising.” When it comes to featuring customers in their advertising, Adam was clear that he and Peyton didn’t want “just any 18-25-year-old girl” to represent their salon. Instead, they chose slightly older, more mature people, whose love for indoor tanning complemented their fun and active lifestyles. Their first ambassador was Peyton’s girlfriend – a marathon runner – and later ambassadors included a professional mountain bike racer, a University of Colorado cheerleader and former finalist on the reality show, Top Chef. As Adam said, “By featuring successful people with fun and active lifestyles, we hope to counter the stereotype of tanners as portrayed in the media.”
Aspen Tan’s ambassadors have become quite popular, thanks to Adam and Peyton featuring them in their advertising and marketing materials. As Adam explained, “They’re in all our printed media; we also take every opportunity to feature them on our social media, many times in ways that aren’t considered advertising.” Adam and Peyton write posts wishing their ambassadors luck in their upcoming competitions and performances, which keeps the Aspen Tan brand in the forefront of their clients’ minds. The success they’ve experienced thus far has the co-owners strongly considering sponsoring other local athletic events associated with charitable causes.
When it comes to marketing, many owners prefer call-to-action ads over branding. The former, which encompasses coupons and sales, provides near-instant gratification and is easily tracked; since branding speaks to people’s perception of your business, results tend to be abstract. In other words, it’s something that many salons owners consider “too expensive.” Aspen Tan’s ambassadors reinforce the chain’s brand strategy as an upscale salon that caters to successful people with fun, active and even adventurous lifestyles. “It’s inexpensive yet it’s gained us a lot of popularity,” Adam said. “I’d recommend every salon find that special person to be the face of their business and use them in their branding efforts.” ■
Feature your ambassadors in as much of your marketing and promotions as you can, and enjoy the branding benefits!
A 14-year industry veteran, John "Ribby" Ribner has written hundreds of
articles for IST Magazine and, as Director of Editorial Content, has also
helped guide the publication's evolution. Ribby is a graduate of Central
Michigan University's journalism program and has brought many years of newspaper reporting experience to his position of Head Writer. He is also the author of three novels, "Legacy of the Bear," "Prophecy of the Bear" and "World So Dark."
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