This year, Great Clips established new promotional partnerships with the NHL and the Winter X-Games. Both partnerships are designed to keep the already iconic haircare brand top-of-mind for millions of consumers across North America.
While corporate sponsorships are nothing new in the franchise industry, Great Clips’ efforts are distinguished by a creative mixed-media strategy that emphasizes audience engagement and celebrity influence.
For the Winter X-Games, Great Clips partnered with skier Bobby Brown, who was sponsored by the brand during the games, and agreed to use his considerable social media influence to help Great Clips reach new audiences.
“The Bobby Brown partnership is really exciting,” said Heather Briggs, Great Clips’ senior director of marketing planning. “Bobby has enormous influence and can reach an audience who might not normally see or respond to traditional advertising.”
When Great Clips became the “Official Hair Salon of the NHL,” the brand gave fans the opportunity for fun, while underlining the trust customers put in the skills of Great Clips stylists. For the NHL’s 2018 Stanley Cup® playoffs and finals, Great Clips developed the Legendhairy Greats of the NHL campaign, which featured an internet subdomain where visitors could cast votes for their favorite hockey pro hairstyles, catch up on Head to Head Matchups, and review the latest results from playoff games.
“We’re always looking for ways to go beyond traditional media buys,” said Briggs. “Social media is one of the best ways we’ve found to do that. Campaigns like the Legendhairy Greats of the NHL create a fun way for potential customers to actually interact with our brand, which is far more effective than passively watching a TV commercial or seeing an ad in a magazine.”
The X-Games and NHL partnerships are just the latest examples of Great Clips’ strategy of creative cross-promotional campaigns. The brand’s consumer marketing strategy has long placed an emphasis on partnering with high-exposure brands and events.
In recent years, Great Clips teamed up with Monster Jam and the National Hot Rod Association, and the brand has advertised in NCAA football and basketball playoffs for many years.
“The major sponsorships and partnerships are a key component of our national marketing strategy, which has allowed us to remain the leading haircare brand in North America,” said Briggs.
That’s not an exaggeration. Great Clips currently operates more than 4,300 salons across North America, making it the largest hair-care brand in the worldTo support those thousands of stores in every market, Briggs says the brand has invested heavily in national marketing campaigns that reach the most amenable audiences.
“We have the resources to fully understand our key demographics, and we take full advantage of that knowledge,” Briggs said. “By developing partnerships with major brands that are already in front of our target audiences, we can advertise far more effectively than most other brands.”
Briggs says the NHL and X-Games, for example, have primarily younger and more male audiences than traditional media, and their seasonality allows Great Clips to generate customer surges throughout the year.
“Reaching your target audience is crucial in advertising,” Briggs said. “The X-Games and NHL allow us access to their younger audiences, and that’s been great for us. They also help us ramp up during peak periods throughout the year.”
According to Briggs, Great Clips’ emphasis on creative, cross-promotional brand partnerships is just one of the ways the brand works to ensure the continued success of each of its thousands of franchise locations.
“One of our jobs as a franchisor is to make sure that franchisees feel supported, that they are heard, and that they are given all the tools and advantages over the competition that we can give them,” Briggs said. “That way, they feel confident in the brand and their ability to make their salons successful. When we create great partnerships, we’re showing franchisees that we care about their business, extending the brand, and leveraging the strength of the Great Clips name.”