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Retail Service Employees Are Your Brand

Start with employees to deliver on your brand promise
Stephen Heitz, Chief Innovation Officer | Tim Trull, Chief Strategy Officer

This article is a brief abstract of our exclusive study that takes the guesswork
out of advertising and marketing for retail services.



Download the complete Retail Services Marketing Report

Retail service brand marketers are always looking for effective messages that will move consumers to act—buy a product, use a service, tell a friend. But advertising oversaturation is making that challenging. As Desmond Marzette, Global Director of Advertising at Nike, once observed, “There’s so much messaging out there, and it’s only getting worse.”

Marzette says:

“Every year there’s a new platform that will ultimately be used to sell you something. I worry that ultimately advertising will become a layer of noise and won’t be as impactful as it has been in the past or even as it has been today. Soon every street will look like la Croissette during Cannes or Times Square, where it’s just a bunch of lights and no one is reacting to it.”

To help brand marketers break through the noise, Arizona franchise ad agency LAVIDGE fielded a recent study to determine consumer perceptions and attitudes about retail service advertising. Here, we share an insight from the study regarding what branding statements consumers like the best.

Chart: Retail Service Employees Are Your Brand

Every employee is a CEO

Creative directors and industry professionals probably aren’t shocked that the most preferred statement about retail services is “Our staff is well trained and knowledgeable.” It beat out “We will help keep you healthier” by an impressive 12%.

William Arruda, a personal branding pioneer and author of Ditch, Dare, Do, offers sage advice that emphasizes the importance of well-trained and knowledgeable employees:

Many companies focus all their branding efforts on marketing activities such as advertising campaigns and packaging, yet one of the most powerful brand assets your company has is your people. Regardless of which industry you’re in, building a strong brand requires that all employees feel connected to the corporate brand and understand their role in turning brand aspirations into reality. If you’re not inspiring your talent to be brand ambassadors, you’re missing out.

An informed, talented and service-oriented workforce is crucial to delivering on a company’s brand promise. When someone is giving you a deep tissue treatment, your massage therapist is the company. To you, the personal trainer at the fitness club might as well be the gym’s CEO.

The runners-up both focus on health and wellness: “We will help keep you healthier” and “We can help you improve your health and wellness.” This gets at the heart of why we spent discretionary dollars on beauty and wellness retail products and services. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), only 15% of adults smoke, a decrease of 10% since 1997. The CDC* also reports an all-time high of adults who are meeting federal physical activity guidelines. Obesity, a major disease predictor, is declining as well—a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation indicates that obesity rates have dropped in four states for the first time: Minnesota, Montana, New York and Ohio.

Despite the healthiness trend, respondents are under no delusions that retail service businesses can work miracles. The least preferred marketing statement is “You will feel younger.”


 In their own words:

Survey responders said...

  • “When you undergo a service, you want to be assured that the staff are well-trained, credentialed and licensed.”

  • “I won’t be treated by idiots. If I know more than they do, then it’s time for me to leave.”

  • “You can’t properly take care of someone without the right education and training.”

  • “If you can improve my health and wellness, then all other areas of my life can benefit and I will feel better about myself.”


* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Health Interview Survey, Page 44

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This article is a brief abstract of our exclusive and authoritative study that takes the guesswork out of health, beauty and grooming retail services advertising and marketing. Rather than speculating about what will drive consumers to action, we've asked them.

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