Tips From The World’s Biggest Brands That You Can Apply To Your Dance Studio
In your dance studio, your brand is so much more than your logo or your signage.
Your brand needs to sum up all of the experiences your dancers, their families and your potential dance families have with your studio. A strong brand communicates what your studio does, how it does things and, at the same time, establishes trust and credibility.
Your brand lives in everyday interactions with your dancers, the images you share, the messages you post on your website, and in your posts on social networks.
Here are some of the things you need to keep in mind when establishing or revamping your brand.
1. Be unique. One of the most iconic brands of our time – Apple – was reborn in 1997 after it launched an innovative campaign inviting people to “Think Different.” Today, Apple products are perceived to be better designed, more fun and more reliable than products from Apple’s competitors. What makes your dance studio unique? What’s your story? What do you do that other studios do not?
2. Grow your community. Many of the world’s best brands, including Google, Amazon, Facebook, Virgin and Skype, spend a lot less on advertising than you would think. They focus on building and improving their communities. Those companies understand that if people trust a brand’s community they will extend trust to the brand.
As a dance studio you have so many opportunities to build online and offline communities. For example, you can build online communities in your Facebook group and page, your Instagram page and physically in the community. As always, you need to remember that you can’t be in all places at once. Pick one or two places where you can focus building your community and spend your time and resources there.
3. Have a good name and logo. A strong brand is easily recognizable and recognition starts with the name of your dance studio. The name will appear on your business cards, letterhead, website, social networks, promotional materials, products and pretty much everywhere in print and online to identify your studio and your offerings.
However – it’s not enough to have a recognizable name. A great logo can also really pack a punch. As you think about your logo, keep your audience and values in mind because you want your logo to reflect your studio. Think about the logos of some of the world’s most admired brands like Apple, Google, Amazon. How do you feel (emotionally) when you see their logos?
4. Find your voice. What you say is important, but don’t overlook how you say it. The “voice” of your studio is the language and personality you and your team will use to deliver your branding message, your campaign offers, and will also reach your customers. Great brands speak with a unique voice. Think about the brands you admire – how do they communicate with you and other customers? What do you like about their voice?
5. Be consistent. Many dance studios I have seen will change their messaging depending on their audience. For example, a dance studio might take a very serious tone on their website, but a very lighthearted tone on their Facebook fan page. To build and maintain a strong brand, every aspect of your brand should be as good as your studio offerings, your classes, and your customer experience so you really need to be consistent in presenting your brand. This includes not only your studio name, logo, overall aesthetic design, products and services, but also includes your marketing materials, website and appearances at live events.
6. Keep your promises. Although this is common sense, you’d be surprised how many studios tarnish relationships with their dance families by failing to keep their promises. Happy families who feel good about your studio are of course your best source of referrals. For example, you might build great trust and credibility with customers by promising a 24 hr response to all emails. However, you can go a step further and ensure they are replied to within 12 hours. Believe it or not, this all becomes a part of your brand and your brand-message.
7. Be vocal about your values. Think about brands you love. Those brands commonly stand for something (or against something) and connect with their customers emotionally. What does your studio stand for (or against)? What are your values and how do you communicate these with your potential customers?
8. Empower your customers. You are not in control of your brand. Sure, you can set your brand’s direction, but how your brand is perceived is determined by your dance families as well as your potential customers. People can become your brand’s ambassadors – spreading your ideas to their own networks. Spend time nurturing relationships with such people. Ultimately, successful brands recognize that if they help their customers succeed, the customers will in turn help the brand succeed and this can work wonders for your dance studio.
9. Deliver value. Now don’t get me wrong – value doesn’t always mean lowest price. You can focus on curriculum (having the best classes in town), operational excellence (a simple, automated experience from inquiry through to enrollment), or great customer service. You can – and should – focus on a combination of those things.
For more training and resources to help you grow a thriving dance studio while getting your life back, join our vibrant community of like-minded studio owners and studio growth coaches inside the Dance Studio Owners Association.