Carl Keely, the entrepreneurially spirited man behind Melbourne’s awesome Chumba Concept salon, never just looks at what’s in front of him. He’s the type of visionary who is constantly looking beyond. That’s why we love him.
When we tried to sell the idea of Refoil, Easydry’s sister brand, his reply was classic Carl: ‘Don’t sell me a product. Sell me a marketing idea that my staff can fly with and my clients will buy into.’ So we asked him how big his balls were. That got his attention.
In 2012, not long after we’d added Refoil to the Easydry family and renamed the overall company Orb, we launched the How Big Are Your Balls campaign (that’s balls of crushed up salon foils for recycling) as a way of thrusting a new product that could so easily have been overlooked into the limelight. It made everyone – hairdressers, clients and editors – sit up and take note. Here was a feisty little number that demanded to be noticed.
But it wasn’t just our sales we were thinking about. We wanted to get everyone talking, including your clients. Using a sustainable foil made everyone think about waste. Asking how big your balls were definitely helped people visualise. Way to go!
So now we’ve made huge inroads in reducing waste but not everyone in Australia is on board and we can’t help wondering why. Would it be worth relaunching How Big Are Your Balls? We thoughts so, because you can also use it to help sell more colour.
Take Carl at Chumba. He saw that showing off about his size could be good marketing. So much so that he threw his glove in the face of sustainability frontman Stevie English, Refoil devotee and possibly the most eco-focused salon owner in the country. How big were his balls compared to Chumba’s? What followed could go down in hair history as one of the most successful marketing stories ever.
The two big names got down and dirty, pitting each member of their team, one-by-one, into a battle for glory in a not-so-secret salon location.
Every week for two months, a stylist from each salon went face-to-face; Belinda ‘Ball Breaker’ took on Stevie ‘The Guvnor’; Chloe ‘The Shearer’ faced off Missy ‘The Monster’; Colleen ‘Countess’ braved Jade ‘Lovo’; Pete ‘The Prince’ parried with Elly ‘The Tiger’; Chris ‘Top Gun’ Wade confronted Liz ‘Lights Out’; ‘Catwalk Man’ defied Naomi ‘Dynamite’; Rhi ‘Duchess’ scrapped with Jake ‘Snake Eyes’; and Alex ‘Ball Crusher’ tried to crush Jimmy ‘Long Balls’. The matches were all well publicised, with wrestling-style posters, in-salon displays, awareness spraying through email and SMS and lots of chatter and trash talk between competitors on the social networks.
‘The marketing was immense,’ said Stevie. ‘We plastered it on social media and we had everyone talking it up in-salon. It was a bit of fun and the whole team was really on board. The real winner was the environment because we were pushing more sustainable products and raising awareness, but we didn’t do too badly out of it either. Clients loved it, and we attracted new people. Sales were massively up across the board. And we were able to upsell colour, introducing it to previously chemically resistant clients who wanted to get involved.’
At Chumba, staff engagement and client chatter were also stellar, leading to all-time records on sales for April, May and June.
‘It was the highest ever, including Xmas training periods,’ added Carl.
It also got the guys loads of column inches across local and hair press. And with an increasingly concerned public – salon clients – that wants more than just talk when it comes to dealing with climate change, Chumba and Stevie English were able to push up their reputations with existing and potential clients. Wouldn’t you like to do the same? So many salons now use Easydry and, increasingly, Refoil, so what about standing up tall and shouting about it. How about showing everyone that you’ve got the biggest balls?
Tips to showing your balls are bigger:
- More colour sales means more foils used, which means bigger balls, so try running a colour campaign.
- Find some way to display your balls to pique clients’ curiosity.
- Work up a script with the team, so that everyone is talking up your big balls.
- Persuade one of your pals in the industry (a non-competitor) to join you in a challenge like Chumba and Stevie English and share the story with your local press and social networks.
- Put up photos on your Facebook and Twitter.
- Launch a team competition – use your origami skills to make a Refoil beastie each week for as many weeks as you like, with a prize for the best. Post the pics on Instagram along with the runners-up.