Welcome to the Salon Owner’s Podcast, Phorest FM Episode 30. Co-hosted by Killian Vigna and Zoé Bélisle-Springer, this show is a mix of interviews with industry thought-leaders, roundups of our most recent salon owners marketing tips & tricks, all the latest in and around Phorest and what upcoming webinars you can join. Phorest FM is produced every Monday morning for your enjoyment with a cup of coffee on your day off.

Phorest FM Episode 30

Louis Grenier is back as a guest for this episode. He speaks about the importance of transparency when it comes to your salon’s brand, and how you can use behind-the-scenes content to humanise your brand and become more relatable to your clients.


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Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM Podcast, Episode 30. I’m Killian Vigna.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer. So this week on the show, we’re going to be interviewing marketing expert, Louis Grenier.

Killian Vigna: Louis shares his knowledge on how to be transparent and share your behind-the-scenes.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And as always we top off the show with our upcoming Phorest Academy webinars.

Killian Vigna: This podcast is produced every Monday morning for your enjoyment with a cup of coffee on your day off. Now, let’s get into the show.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Good morning, Killian.

Killian Vigna: Good morning, Zoe. So we have our industry expert episode this week.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes absolutely, it’s going to be quite interesting, this one. So we had Louis Grenier on the show before a few weeks back now, so this is part two.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, it’s a part of a series that we’re doing with Louis.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes, exactly. So today, we’re talking about how to be transparent within your business, how to share your behind-the-scenes, the advantages, and what you can get out of it, basically.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, so it’s all about just kind of like, you know, sharing that little bit more with your clients. Not just showing the business side of it, kind of showing your staff and stuff. How do you react when you’re in your quieter part of the day, essentially?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So without further adieu, we’re going to welcome Louis on the show and kick this off.

Killian Vigna: Welcome back Louis, you were so good the first time, we brought you back for a second episode.

Louis Grenier: Yeah, you forced me to.

Killian Vigna: No, we’re not even joking.

Louis Grenier: Let me tell you like, my hands are tied right now. I can’t move.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, because you’re going on holidays.

Louis Grenier: Yeah that’s true.

Killian Vigna: And we don’t want him to leave before we get the most out of him.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, so today we’re talking about humanizing your salon’s brand and about sharing behind-the-scenes content. And that, I think, was your idea of a topic to begin with.

Louis Grenier: Yeah, so I’m a big believer in like, marketing to be transparent and open. In this day and age, you can’t hide. People want to connect with people. People want to know more about you, and with the internet now, you know, it seems like people can connect with companies and brands much more closely. While 30 years ago, even 20 years ago, even 10 years ago, it was a bit tougher to know the behind scenes of companies and there are a lot of examples of companies that didn’t do that well with being transparent or honest, and it really backfired on them.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Oh yeah, because then you have to like apologize to your customers, and then you’re destroying kind of your perfect image whereas, if you show your true colours, then you know, you can just go about your day.

Killian Vigna: The way I look at it is, because we’re in Ireland here, I’m Irish. With Irish people, it’s all about relationships. So to work with someone, you essentially have to know them. So it kind of comes back to that whole, you’re not hiring a company or you’re not going to a company just for the skills, you’re going because of the people you’re going to be dealing with. So you’re buying into the staff, it’s not just, I suppose, the name of the company or the product or the brand that you’re buying into, it’s the actual people. Us Irish people have always been like that.

Louis Grenier: So let me set the record straight here, every single country will say “our country is all about people and relationships and whatever”. It’s the case everywhere. Like we are, as we said in the last episode, we are social animals and relationships are the, you know, the basis of everything. And Irish people like to say that, but French people like to say that as well.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Canadian as well.

Louis Grenier: It’s a universal concept.

Killian Vigna: Well, [crosstalk 00:03:33].

Zoe Belisle-Springer: You’re getting a little red there.

Killian Vigna: Just blushing a little bit. But it’s true, okay so everyone, you believe in people, or you buy into people.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Right, but we can all agree I think on saying that, if you stand in the middle of the room and you just shout about your product, it’s not… it’s going to get you just so far, you know. And putting a picture of yourself like, not necessarily a picture, but just like showcasing something about yourself that makes you a human, not just a brand, will help you build a relationship with your customer way more.

Louis Grenier: Yeah, so people crave for that. The only way to be unique in this world, the only way to really truly stand out is to be yourself. It sounds cliché, but it’s the truth. It’s to be yourself, to show your weaknesses as well as your strengths, and to show the behind-the-scenes of your salon, to show sometimes when you’re not feeling great and that’s perfectly fine, you can do that internally with your colleagues on a praise and then move on to people following you. But that’s perfectly fine to show your true colour because people would connect with that way more than a brand that tries to be somebody or something that it’s not. And people love that.

Killian Vigna: It’s like, it’s fake and people see through that.

Louis Grenier: Yeah.  In this day and age, with Instagram and social media and Facebook and emails and whatever, internet in general, people just, they know that very quickly. Now, there must be one thing that you’re thinking right now is well, I’m scared of doing so, I’m scared people will not care, or will mock me, or will think that we are just like crazy. But think about the brands that you love the most. Think about the people that you connect with the most. I’m talking about brands in general, companies, and celebrities. I can guarantee that every single one of them, you love them because they are being very transparent, being very open, being very like true.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. And I think a lot of people can also question the return on investment of doing that. Because I feel like I got that question loads of times. Like why should I do an Instagram story, why should I show this, why should I show that.

Killian Vigna: What’s in it for me? “What am I getting out of it?” sort of attitude.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: ‘Cause they try to pick, they try to really see a money sign after straight away. But it’s actually not going to be that money sign. You’re gonna build that relationship and eventually, those people will become your brand ambassadors almost. Like they’ll talk about you for you.

Killian Vigna: This was a classic example when we first started the Snapchat feature. We were trying to get everyone like, oh yeah get your salon on Snapchat. But everyone, like you said, the first question was, how do I measure the return on investment? You’re not going to get business through Snapchat, but it lets you show your personality. It shows you the behind-the-scenes.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah.

Louis Grenier: As we discussed in the last podcast, we are not saying you should use Instagram stories or anything like this. It’s more a concept that applies anywhere in the way you treat your people, the way you treat your clients, the way you talk about yourself, the way you do your marketing. It’s kind of a theme that needs to be embraced from the ground up. And so it’s easy for me to say that you need to be transparent and all, but I’m going to give you an example that is a perfect example.

Myself, when I started my own business, this is what I started to do. I started to write huge blog posts about how I struggled to make money, and how I was trying to find my first customers. Then I went on to share the cashflow and the revenues we were making every month and the fact that we were losing a lot of money certain months, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of people just sending me emails saying, oh it’s refreshing to hear, and they started to follow me for this reason. So people like followed me not because I had necessarily interesting stuff to say, but because they thought and they knew that I was being honest and transparent and that’s what people want.

Another bigger example, because I’m far from being a celebrity of any kind, or a good company. But a good company should focus on and look at this buffer, which is a social media scheduling tool and they are being very transparent about everything they do. Now, they are being maybe too much transparent. They would share how much their employees are making a month so that kind of stuff… you don’t have to go to this length but-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: There’s different types of behind-the-scenes. [crosstalk 00:07:44]

Louis Grenier: Yeah exactly, this part of it, you have to be comfortable with it, so you can start small but it’s going to feel good to be yourself, to share who you are to others. It’s gonna feel good, and people will connect with that.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, ’cause we often hear the whole “Fake It ‘Til You Make It” thing, but in the end of the day, if I’m gonna go to you as a client I want to make sure like, I don’t want the person I’m employing to be a faker. Basically kind of giving me answers that I want to hear. I want them to be honest because at the end of the day I’m spending money with you.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, you’re looking for an expert.

Killian Vigna: Like I’m not necessarily always going to go to a barber because they’re the best skilled. I might go to a barber because I get on with them, or I enjoy my 45 minutes in the chair chatting to them.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So if we chat about what kind of behind-the-scenes content, like what is it really when we say behind-the-scenes. It could be loads of things, right?  So it doesn’t have to be like the transparency, you don’t need to share your figures of every month in the salon, it might not be relevant to your audience. So in terms of what’s relevant for a salon owner-

Killian Vigna: Just, how are things going in the business? Like we do a bit of it as well so when we had the Valentine’s Day, we put it up on Instagram. It was just little stories and photos of everyone in here having a bit of fun. Like you said, it doesn’t always have to be fun, like if you’re having a really quiet day, that could be an opportunity to do, I suppose, a short video of how bored your staff are. So kind of like encourage clients to come in and perk them up. It could be something as fun as that like.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And in terms of like websites, could you put anything up on a website to share a behind the scene concept? Would you have any-

Louis Grenier: I think that an easy thing to start with would be maybe to write a monthly update. So you just write it, even if you’re not a good writer, I can guarantee that if you just write about what you’ve done in the last month, it’s easy to write. And you can say, well this month, this is what we’ve done, the key things, we’ve hired two people and we had to let go one, or somebody left-

Killian Vigna: We got an award.

Louis Grenier: No, but like, the behind-the-scenes, but not only the positive.  The actual truth with pictures or videos to show what happened. And you can shout out on Facebook, or your Instagram… you can use that as kind of the source for your content, and say well you know, let’s say we hire two people this month and that’s part of your monthly update. Well, you can post that on Instagram, on Snapchat, on Facebook, wherever you are. [crosstalk 00:10:05]

But like, this exercise is also good for yourself in term of to look back, ’cause, you know, you’re just rushing through the day and you’re very busy and it’s difficult to look back and take a step back. But this kind of public monthly update can definitely help, so you can start with that. You can start with just doing that with your staff and then once you’re comfortable you can release it. But people will start, you could see the first monthly update you will post publicly, you’ll be scared at first but then you’ll have much more people commenting and asking you questions, and sending you emails, and telling you fair play for doing that than you could even imagine. And this is how you build an authentic brand.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I think yeah, I think definitely, I’m just thinking about, you were talking about this, the monthly update, and I’m just thinking of the CEO update that we get in Phorest. And it’s just everything that’s going on in the company. Obviously, for us, it’s like figures and stuff, and then also new staff coming in, where they’re from, what kind of background do they have, what are they going to do in the company. And it’s just refreshing to have that update every month coming to your emails, you know.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, I mean, it’s an internal thing, but it keeps everyone up-to-date of what’s going on, it keeps everyone on the same track, we all see the same vision, we all have the same vision because of those monthly reports.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, definitely. And in terms of like, how to do it, like it doesn’t require a budget really. You could use a smartphone, you could just type away on your keyboard, you know. And many people have a, I think, a fear of, oh it’s going to cost me so much because I don’t know how to do video, or I don’t know how to do this. How do I outsource, and actually you shouldn’t be outsourcing it because it’s you.

Killian Vigna: Every smart phone nowadays comes with a free video editor, like especially the iPhone, things like those. Just point, shoot, basic editing, throw it up, there you go. Don’t think about it.

Louis Grenier: Like that’s the thing. I don’t remember, we probably need to link that, but there was a research recently that showed that when… people connect more with like personal videos that don’t seem to be edited over the top. So it’s okay if you literally take your iPhone, record for five minutes what you’ve done last month and the struggle you had and the wins you had, and all this kind of stuff. If you start from start to finish, you don’t even have to edit it, you can just post it as it is if you want to. And you can turn that into a post, a blog post, where you just re-watch the video again and write it down. So there’s plenty of ways you can do that. But don’t think about it in terms of cost, it’s really… it’s free to do, and it’s going to free up your mind as well.

Killian Vigna: It’s just you evaluating yourself and your business.  Most people do that when they go home after work, after dinner you sit on the couch, watch a bit of TV, and you’re thinking of how your day performed, how your week performed, what are you going to do tomorrow. Now it’s just taking that out of your head and publicizing it a little more, but well, not too much.

Louis Grenier: No, so there’s obviously things that you choose not to disclose to the public, that’s perfectly fine. But being authentic and sharing pictures and videos will help. The key thing behind all of that is just one word, trust. So it comes back to trust. Marketing your company, everything is based on trust. If people know that… like if people trust you, they are much more likely to buy from you, much more likely to recommend you to others, much more likely to talk about you. However, if they don’t trust you they are way more likely to criticize you openly, to tell their friends about the bad experience they had, so it’s all about trust and trust is built on a few pillars, and one of them is transparency, honesty, consistency, all of that stuff.

So if you’re consistently putting authentic content out there and being yourself in front of your staff and with your customers, it’s going to work out for the better. People will start to trust you more and recommend you more.

Killian Vigna: But also, because you’re humanizing your business, it’s easier to give out about a company or give out about a business online. But it’s a lot harder to, I suppose, criticize or give out about a person.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, ’cause think about it, would you easily criticize and openly criticize a friend?

Killian Vigna: No.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Not really.

Killian Vigna: No, exactly. Like you’d give out about them to another friend. But like at the end of the day yeah, you’re not going to put that up on social media. So-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So it’s the same with your brand, if you’re turning your brand into this more human vibe to it, then you’re less likely, again, it comes back to what you were just saying, you’re less likely to openly criticize.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. And like when we talk about putting this content out it’s always, like remember, are your clients going to want to see this? We talk about this in kind of general marketing, people who are always just putting up offers, all they want to get is sales out of it. Do your clients, would they be interested in hearing this? And most of the time, yes.

Louis Grenier: All the time, yes.

Killian Vigna: All the time, yes.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So all the time, yes, but now I can also see salon owners asking, so how frequently should you be doing this, you know?

Louis Grenier: So the key here is consistency. Like you have to make sure it’s consistent, so make sure that if you decide to publish something every month, then stick to it, and start small. If you feel that every month is enough, then start every month and if you get comfortable with it, maybe every two weeks or whatever. But the key here is not how frequently, it’s the fact that it has to be consistent. So if you start, make sure you stick with it because it’s going to take time, but over time people will get used to it and connect with it more.

Now to go back to your point, Killian, there’s one thing, in particular, that is very important here. If you just focus on making sales, you’re forgetting one thing. The main thing for your business is to try to get as many loyal and profitable customers as you can. And five new loyal, profitable customers every month is worth way more than you can think. It’s not like a quick way or a quick hack to get new customers just because you posted a discount on Groupon or whatever. Those people will recommend you to others way more, they will share your content way more, they will trust you, and those are the basis of a sustainable business. Those type of people, and this is how you get them.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, I mean like, it’s not a quick fix. It’s about growing your brand, creating a culture of fans. Like it is slow, it does take time, but it works in the long run. It’s more long-term plan, as opposed to, like you said, getting ten clients in this week that are never going to come back. Just because of a special offer.

Louis Grenier: There’s an easy way to remember that, like if it was easy everybody would do it. It’s as simple as that. So, not a lot of people would be willing to do this, to be consistently writing about themselves and share the bad and the good and be authentic. But this is why if you do it, you will stand out. ‘Cause not many people understand it and not many people are able to do it in the long term. So, it is not easy, for sure it’s not easy, but that’s a good sign.

Killian Vigna: Like when I go through my Facebook homepage, it’s just promotion after promotion, or offer after offer. You get sick of looking at that. Show me behind-the-scenes. Give me a reason to actually engage, because if you’re gonna put up an offer, what am I gonna comment, why would I like, share that maybe?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, if you’re not interested in that offer, you’re just gonna go over it anyway, whereas if you’re showing, I don’t know, it could be any kind of fun thing that happened in the salon that day… you’re likely to just be like, oh that was really cool. And I’ll like, I’ll comment, or I’ll share this because that was fun and you’re just creating engagement just there.

Killian Vigna: I remember at Christmas there was a video that went around the office, it was a client of ours on Snapchat and they put it on Facebook and you actually found it. Where the two girls put the filter on and just had a bit of fun on Snapchat. It had nothing to do with promoting any treatments or products or anything like that, it was just the two girls having a bit of fun. And that flew around our office, everyone loved it, and like the reaction, the engagement that got.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, that was amazing, yeah. So it’s just things like that. And like we said in the last… part one of our series, you don’t need to be on Snapchat to do this. You don’t need to be on Instagram to do this. Go from what channel have you picked, and go there. Like if you’ve chosen to blog then write a monthly blog, like you said, maybe. If you chose Instagram, well Instagram story great for behind-the-scenes and you don’t even need to upload or edit any content, you just do it straight from the app. So it’s really depending on the channel that you picked.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, don’t just keep jumping on the next flashy new trend. Stick with what you have, what you’re good at, what works for you. Again, finding out what we talked about last week, the focus group sort of. What are your clients using? What content do they consume?

Louis Grenier: There’s one last thing. I mean, think about the latest scandals, like the latest big stories in Southern companies that happened recently. And you can all connect them back to transparency, so Uber, the car-

Killian Vigna: The car hire.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Taxi.

Killian Vigna: Taxi, yeah.

Louis Grenier: -type of service. They are starting to struggle a lot. Their brand is really damaged because they were spying on competitors illegally, they were treating their staff like shit, sorry I don’t know if I can say that but,-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I’ll listen.

Killian Vigna: I can’t believe you just swore.

Louis Grenier: ‘Cause I know sometimes, like… Anyway, so they were treating their staff badly, there was a lot of sexual harassment cases that were not being handled at all, the CEO didn’t care. And that starts to like be in the public more and more and people choose not to use them anymore. And that’s all back to honesty, transparency and stuff. If they were transparent from day one they would have never done that. So that’s the first one.

And the other one is United Airlines.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I’m sure we’ve all heard about that one.

Killian Vigna: Do we even need to, yeah-

Louis Grenier: But that’s part of the same thing. Why on Earth are you treating your people this way, your customers this way? And like, lying to them and not being able to accommodate them because of your mistake. I mean, that’s all part of the same thing, the trust and transparency and honesty. If United Airlines were honest from the start, they would have said, first of all-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: We’ve overbooked-

Louis Grenier: And let me give you something in return, whatever. They would never have behaved this way, it’s just like you can see in the DNA of certain companies, trust is not part of it. And in the long term, those companies will die.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, some people just try to brush over it, don’t they. But like we talk about being transparent with your clients, also like, it comes back to your staff too. Be transparent and respectful to your staff, because the more your staff are happy to work with you, it’s going to show that when your clients do come into the salon, oh these guys actually enjoy working here, it’s a good atmosphere, it’s a good culture, and then your staff are going to get onboard the whole transparency and stuff too.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And they’ll be talking to their friends as well, anyways.

Killian Vigna: Like remember, you’re not alone here, it’s not all falling back to you. If you get your staff in the right position, they can help as well. Get the same ethos flowing between everyone, the same vision and the stuff will be a breeze, it will just become natural, it will become a daily habit like.

Louis Grenier: Yeah, so there’s one thing about this, usually people are scared of trusting others because they feel that they don’t know how to do their job the same way. So using an operational manual is a good way, but also really trying to trust those people and show that you trust them by letting them maybe handle your Instagram account if you’ve been handling that for the last six months or 12 months, maybe you should give that to somebody else and say I trust you to handle that from now on. I’m not going to like manage you or micro manage you, I just trust you that you’ll do a great thing. And usually, that works really well because people who feels-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: They feel valued.

Louis Grenier: Yeah they feel valued, they will do the right things.

Killian Vigna: A lot of time, people don’t see that as an extra chore or an extra responsibility. They see that as a… oh wow, thank you sort of thing, especially when it comes to taking over your social media because your staff are on it the whole time anyway. They’re having fun with it with their friends, now have fun with your salon. And like, we have a list of a couple of different product launch teasers, it’s not necessarily you selling, you could go through the products and kind of talk about what’s in the products, demonstrate it. It’s just offering value, like sharing your wisdom, so the Q and A sessions and things like those. There’s also team building, so every time your staff are going for training, try and publicize that maybe, because it shows-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: It shows that you care, that you want to grow.

Killian Vigna: You’re upskilling your staff and your staff want to be upskilled, and you are working together as well.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I think that pretty much sums it up. I mean if any of you guys have any last words on the topic, I think we’ve pretty much covered all of it.

Killian Vigna: So, hopefully after that now, you’ve kind of got some tips and tricks on how to be just, I suppose, that little bit more transparent with your salon, kind of behind-the-scenes. And just be a bit more open with your clients, I suppose. It’s not all about business at the end of the day.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Oh no, for sure, yeah.

Killian Vigna: You want to create a culture of friends, of followers, not just clients.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly. It’s the easiest way to attract new people as well, I suppose.

Killian Vigna: Exactly. So, now Zoe it’s the end-of-show webinar time.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes, so our next webinar will be on Monday, July 3rd. It’s the monthly retailing master class. So for anyone who hasn’t attended that one yet, we talk about how to create a retailing culture within your salon. Actionable ways to put that in place. How to kind of get away from the stigma of selling retail isn’t fun, and all sorts of things like that. It’s an hour long, it’s from 3pm to 4pm UK Ireland time. Or 10am to 11am US Eastern time. You just simply have to go onto Facebook, into the events section, click on buy tickets, the tickets are free obviously.

Killian Vigna: They’re free tickets, it’s just a link to follow.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: It’s just a link to save your spot, and we’ll see you there.

Killian Vigna: Cool.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: But before we head off, we still we have, we’re still running that 30 Days 2 Grow registration process, so if you haven’t signed up for that yet-

Killian Vigna: Yes. Get on board now, because like we said, it all kicks off on the first of July, so you want to gather as much information about it just beforehand, kind of get yourself prepped, get your team prepped. Make this a team effort, it’s not just down to you. […] This is industry-wide, we want everyone to get on board. This and it’s only gonna work if we’re all in it together.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly. And it’s not just, you don’t have to be a Phorest Client, you don’t even have to have software in your salon-

Killian Vigna: You don’t need software at all, pen and paper will do the job.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, exactly so, if you’re interested, if you already signed up actually, or are interested, we have a Facebook community group, so if you want to share advice or share accomplishments or things like that, simply search, well when you register actually, you’ll have a link to that Facebook group. Just sign up as a member there and you’ll have access.

Killian Vigna: Just remember, they’re only small tips every day for 30 days, so they’ll only take a couple minutes of your time. There is no real investment in this. So yeah, register, get involved, join the group discussion on Facebook, follow the # on Twitter and Instagram, or whatever.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And let’s kick off the 30Days2Grow.

Killian Vigna: 30Days2Grow.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And on this note, we wish you a very lovely week and we’ll catch you next Monday.

Killian Vigna: All the best.

Thanks for reading!


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