A peek inside Nexxus’ salon strategy

The Unilever brand is building itself a home and bringing its roots to the fore to tap into the demand for super-premium hair care.
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Nexxus’ New Year’s resolution is to bring the brand closer to salons.

The Unilever brand is kicking off the year with a bid to highlight that it’s an upscale salon-worthy line. Originally created by a stylist, the campaign is a call back to the salon’s heritage, says Jessica Grigoriou, marketing director for hair and deodorants, Unilever Canada.

A lot of growth opportunity exists in the super-premium/salon space, she says, and the brand’s target demographic (sophisticated and successful urban women) consider hair to be an important quality in her life, and is not something that can be compromised on. As a result, the decision was made at the global level to bring the salon tie to the fore.

First, the brand is getting a new name – Nexxus New York Salon Care – and a product reformulation. It’s also getting a packaging facelift, taking cues from the soon-to-open Nexxus-branded salon in New York.

Unilever was looking for a physical home for the brand, says Emily Turner, senior brand manager in global brand development for the hair-care line. “We wanted to have a space where we could build a relationship directly with our target audience,” she says of the salon, which opened its doors today. “The brief was to create the most sophisticated and progressive hair salon in New York.”

The salon is full of warm tones and designed to play up the brand’s “restorative” abilities. An emphasis in design was placed on maintaining natural light, while digital touches were added throughout, including an interactive mirror that can assess the patron’s hair, offer recommendations and maintains a profile of the customer for future visits.

Creating on-going, repeat business is important for the brand, says Turner. She clarifies that while the salon should be able to stand on its own financially, it’s not a money-making opportunity for the brand, nor will it be treated as a vehicle for market research. “We’re treating it as the home of the brand – it’s the house of Nexxus.”

Though there are no immediate plans to open salons in other markets (the New York woman being the perfect representation of the brand’s target, Turner says), that’s not to say that Canada won’t utilize some of the salon’s assets, Grigoriou adds. While the brand is still in the very early mass marketing planning stages (with mass expected to hit in the spring), she says there are opportunities to leverage activations such as sending influencers down to New York to experience the salon first-hand.

Here in Canada, in-salon sampling is already under way, while the new product starts rolling onto shelves over the next few weeks.

Photo Credit: Bèlathee Photography