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Understanding why some Spa brands win our hearts, while other brands struggle to maintain their market position

Spas are widely looked upon as means to ‘spend some quality time on self’. Their primary focus is on the overall well-being of its consumers through a variety of professional services that encourages the revitalization of mind, body and spirit. Like any brand, a Spa brand is also a conversation the business has with its consumer. This conversation sparks consumer interest and creates a set of expectations about the brand. The Spa industry is considerably popular and amongst the ever-growing service industries in India. It is, therefore, essential for a Spa brand to convince their consumer of their brand’s relevance in the market with an aim to match the consumers’ needs and expectations. This is largely because services offered by all Spas tend to be more or less similar.

Before building the brand, the brand managers or strategists should find answers to a few questions to understand the marketability of their spa. Will the consumer trust the Spa’s promise? Does your Spa have what they need? The answers to these questions will be the first step towards understanding the process of building the Spa brand. The development of a Spa brand must include relationship-building with the consumer, visibility, goodwill of the brand along with positioning of the brand.

Market Study

Studying the competition, the market segment and the target audience can establish the gaps and opportunities for a Spa brand to define and differentiate them. This study will help to create a solid foundation on which one can develop their business plan to build their own brand. A thorough understanding of the target market is an integral part and should be the first step in creating brand ideas.  Insights based idea development is the core of creating successful marketing techniques and helps in not only the idea development but its implementation as well. The level of understanding that a brand has about its target market set is the difference between an idea and idea of impact.

Brand Values and Vision

It is very important to approach a specialist who can help the company to draw a picture defining success for the ‘Spa brand’. This will also help to define the core brand values which help in business design. These values should reflect what a Spa does, what it communicates and its internal /external culture to its consumer. Once the brand is ready with their vision and values the next step is the Brand proposition and promise. During this stage, the brand will generate a promise towards its consumer which would be a commitment extended at each and every visit. Defining the unique experience will make this relationship more memorable, authentic and will base it upon the brand’s value, personality and associated benefits.

These two stages of brand building are more internal driven as they help the business to understand the benefits or messages they need to exude to the consumer. The next stage of brand building is to create a brand; bringing the brand to life visually.

Brand Creation

This process consists of designing the brand identity (look, feel, logo, font) and a brand design template for the Spa. Creating the brand is the most critical process in brand building. This process has to be accurate as the encapsulated message should be clearly visible and understood by the consumer. The brand logo is the first point of contact for any brand to its consumers. The colour and design have to be appealing so that customers should feel inclined to explore the brand.

Space Design

Every Spa has different services and offers a minimum of one unique factor to its consumer. Along with brand identification, space design also plays an important role during brand familiarization. Well thought placement of visual elements and implementation is important to highlight featured services and brand identity clearly. At the same time, it is essential to consider the futuristic image of the brand ensuring a contemporary look which will help the brand to stand out amongst its competitors. Uniformity in brand colours help in offering a sense of cohesiveness throughout the Spa centre. Detailed designs incorporating the latest trends help in standardizing the brand feel and message associated.

Brand Positioning with Marketing Mix

Brand positioning holds a significant role in marketing strategies and consumer engagement as this helps to differentiate and highlight specialties and strengths from competitors. Spas are one of the few industries, which provide tangible as well as intangible service to the consumer. Therefore, if quantification of relaxation is a tedious task, accumulation of positive relaxation experiences help in multiplying the benefits associated with intangible services offered. The consumers’ gut feel is an outcome of past experiences, feedback, and how they relate to the brand. A strong bond can be created by the brand if it can show its prospects that it cares and understands them. This needs to be brought out by the brand design and packaging of the services offered at a Spa; the five senses support and build this perception in the minds of the consumer. Brands that understand which of the five senses are the most important in their category for its consumers, and the brands that innovate on these senses of importance succeed. Across all marketing and brand initiatives, and especially in brand packaging, this is prime.

A different dimension to this industry is the perishable nature of services offered at any Spa centre. Therefore, services offered, treatment rooms, products used while consuming the service and knowledge and experience of the therapist are elements that cannot be stored and taken home. Understanding such characteristics of the Spa services make it more difficult for a brand expert to formulate the ideal marketing mix for the brand with the help traditional 4P’s which are Product, Place, Price and Promotions. These 4P’s may be inadequate to achieve customer satisfaction and loyalty in this industry. Thus, the additional 3P’s which are People, Process, and Physical Evidence have a significant effect on consumer perception and their experience of the service. This perception and experience influences consumer satisfaction and loyalty towards any brand.

The Extra Factor

The above discussed ideas could be a generic skeleton leading to the creation of a unique Spa. Along with these parameters, several other elements help a Spa business to focus on the primary necessity of the brand which is to differentiate and stand out. Every Spa brand should adapt their thought process behind the brand and the distinctive service attached to it to create the USP of the brand. This USP should maintain its consistency in every centre of the Spa in different cities. Space design is one such important element as Spa centres are always close to the consumers’ heart. The consumers visit a Spa to relax and spend some quality time to switch off from their hectic lifestyles. They therefore do not attempt to put a price for this purchase of relaxation. This makes it a bit easier to open up another new element for the Spa to offer a bit extra than the consumer expectations. This extra factor can be packaged in different ways.

Establishing associations or relationships with the consumers using different nature of packaging is a pre-requisite in this industry. To complete this packaging the Spa can make use of several different elements like culture, the five senses, variety of themes that help in engaging the consumer in an innovative relationship.


Contributor: Chandrashekhar Badve – Founder-Director (Strategy & Marketing) of Lokus Design, a brand consulting and packaging design organization.

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