#369: Sally Beauty Shares A Focus on NPS and Diversity to Drive Customer Loyalty

Sally Beauty is a US based distributor and retailer of professional beauty products to both retail consumers and beauty salon professionals worldwide, and for the last two years, its Sally Beauty™ Rewards program account has been recognized by American consumers as one of their favorite loyalty programs.

In this episode of “Let’s Talk Loyalty”, Gabriel Trujillo, Vice President CRM, Loyalty, Customer Analytics and Research at Sally Beauty shares his insights on how the brand continues to achieve this superb recognition for their loyalty program, driven by their extensive network of stores, and their inclusive workplace, which together deliver an incredibly high NPS score.

Listen to learn some secrets to this success of this industry-leading retailer and their incredible customer loyalty.

Show Notes:

1) Sally Beauty

2) Sally Beauty™ Rewards⁠

3) Gabriel Trujillo

4) Newsweek: Americas Best Loyalty Programs 2023 – Sally Beauty

5) Sally Beauty – Investor Relations Presentation

Audio Transcript

Paula: Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m your host, Paula Thomas, and if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas from loyalty specialists around the world.

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Hello and welcome to today’s episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty, which features a US-based retailer, Sally Beauty Holdings Incorporated, which is a global distributor and retailer of professional beauty products to both retail consumer and beauty salon professionals. Since 2006, Sally Beauty has been a publicly listed company and it was incredibly impressive to read in their most recent investor relations presentation that members of the Sally Beauty Rewards Program account for 77 percent of sales in the US and Canada.

Along with that commercial impact, Sally Beauty Rewards has been recognized for the last two years as one of America’s best loyalty programs, according to consumer research by Newsweek in association with Statista. As well as one of America’s greatest workplaces for diversity in 2023. Even more amazing is the NPS score that Sally Beauty has achieved consistently in recent years, and which I think is the highest I’ve ever heard.

Joining me to share the secrets to this success is Gabriel Trujillo, Vice President of CRM, Loyalty, Customer Analytics and Research at Sally Beauty. I really hope you enjoy my conversation with Gabriel, who shares his insights on how Sally Beauty is achieving such incredible customer loyalty.

So Gabriel, welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty. 

Gabriel: Thank you, Paula. Great to connect. Great to be here. 

Paula: It’s super exciting. Gabriel, you work in a sensational industry, which I will confess, I didn’t know your brand cause I live very, very far away from where you do business. But it is a passion point of mine actually, Gabriel, because I did start life, would you believe professionally as a beauty therapist.

So something slightly aligned to, this incredible industry that you’ve got in terms of hair coloring products. So first and foremost, before we talk about Sally Beauty, Gabriel, as you know, we always love to ask our guests a little bit about, I suppose, how does loyalty connect with you on more of a personal level.

What loyalty program would you say is your favorite? You know, if you exclude your own.

Gabriel: Absolutely. So first of all, again, thank you for, for having me. Great to be here. And I mean, I think loyalty, it, it, it connects with everybody. I mean, there’s not a person out there that is probably not a member of one, two, or seven loyalty programs.

Whether it’s groceries or clothing or beauty, travel, you name it, everybody. There’s some type of loyalty connection with, with every retailer and industry out there. I love just keeping an eye on great experiences through mobile app and in stores and folks that thread it well. So I, I’m a fan of Nike, Adidas, Uber, since Covid, you know, last couple years, Uber has become a big part of our family.

Just ordering food and just connecting the rides with, you know, grocery deliveries, and their app, treatening all that together has been great. I’ll say that, even though I love those, I use more of the travel and credit card, you know, so I’m big on miles. So American Express, American Airlines, you know, keeping track of my miles.

How do I redeem miles? How do I, how do I get the value out of my usage is big. So I think experience, technology and value, are probably three pillars that for me personally, drive a, a good loyalty program. Why, and leave this to say Amazon is out there, which I think, you know, everybody, at least in the states is somehow connected with Amazon, Prime and, and their membership.

Paula: Yeah, I mean, I said exactly the same, Gabriel, like from my perspective, you know, I was, I was very conscious when I subscribed to Amazon Prime the first time, that that was a, probably a lifelong decision. 

Gabriel: Yes. 

Paula: But I, I probably underestimated how much I would use it, so…

Gabriel: Wow. We all did.

Paula: Mind blowing, isn’t it?

Gabriel: It’s incredible. And, and it started to me, I mean, I, I’d probably say out of all the ones I mentioned, Amazon, it’s not your typical, you know, points and gets, although there are some, some benefits kind of in that structured program, but it just cuts through so many aspects of life, whether it’s Amazon music or video and movies or shopping.

It, it’s just everywhere you think of. And I think that’s the beauty of it, that it just, it’s not just one aspect of your life, it cuts across all of your life stages and life needs, which is, I I think it’s just a brilliant, you know, work that they’ve done for sure.

Paula: They really have. Yeah. I think what they’ve achieved Gabriel, is they’ve just got that top of mind, you know?

So, as you said, it’s across your whole life. And you know, my most recent realization is even for my grocery shopping, I will often now, so for, for things like, you know, water, for example, that we get delivered to the house, I know that Amazon will have it there the next day. So, you know, even my supermarket shopping is moving there. It’s unbelievable.

Gabriel: And the services are just incredible. I mean, I live in, in the Dallas, Texas area and there’s a lot of distribution centers. There’s a large one for, for Amazon. I have certain items that are delivered within two, three hours. So it depends on the product. I mean, I can have it here, I mean, by lunchtime. It’s, it’s incredible. 

Paula: Well, honestly, that was something that I saw on your website actually, Gabriel, which I wanted to already pick up on. Because we don’t have two hour delivery yet in my city for Amazon, we do for pizzas and those kind of things. But, it’s definitely a trend. And one, I know that you talked about when we met the last time, loyalty is not just about a structured program.

Loyalty is very much around the overall, dare I use the term customer experience, like I almost feel this should be a CX podcast now because we never called this show Let’s Talk loyalty programs because the program is just one pillar, so…

Gabriel: Correct. 

Paula: That sounds like something that you hold very dear to your heart.

Gabriel: Absolutely. And, and, and you’re right. I think a lot of the conversations I have, with others are they, they always kind of start with the program, the structure, but no loyalty cuts across it. It’s an entire customer experience. It’s from having two hour delivery services as we have for our B2B and B2C customers, it is, buy online pickup in store services.

It is, you know, consultations with, you know, experts in the color and care field that you can have a, an expert, you know, have an educative conversation on how to treat your, your hair. It’s that amazing. You know, we have great satisfaction scores and NPS scores based on our in-store experiences.

Our associates in stores are our key to our, our customer interaction. So, and all of those things you could say, you know, they might not be part of the tier documented loyalty program structure, but they all play a huge part in loyalty. So it’s, it’s how do we thread those details into our program, our benefits?

How do we expand our benefits to cut across the areas where we’re strong at and, and where we meet our customer, where they need us? So it’s absolutely, it’s, it cuts much broader than just a, the tiered structure. 

Paula: Yeah. And, and what I’m hearing coming through, and I, I don’t wanna put words in your mouth, Gabriel, but it almost sounds like loyalty is a mindset, like a, a culture within Sally Beauty.

Would that be fair to say? 

Gabriel: A hundred percent. Hundred percent. And, and like we, we are exploring how do we improve services? How do we have that associate in store deliver that greeting, like we basically know, like we track this to the nth degree. Customers that are greeted have X percent higher satisfaction or NPS scores.

Customers that are greeted and have an interaction or have a, education. It just, we, we track all the layers of interactions with our customers and it, we’re passionate about it. It is, it is ingrained in our entire organization of how do we treat our customer that much better, because we know that that will drive just that, that relationship, strength over time. For sure.

Paula: Absolutely. You know, I actually didn’t realize that that level of layering was available to measure. 

Gabriel: It, it is, it’s, it’s not easy, but it, we have a lot of surveys and we have great, you know, research program that, that just keeps a pulse some on our customer’s mindset and impact of economy and experience in store, experience online.

We, we measure a lot, but we. What we measure we, we try to make it actionable. You can always get into analysis paralysis, but you know, we are careful on just ensuring that, are we getting meaningful insights that can translate into an even better customer experience? So. And it’s a, you know, it’s a journey, you know, there’s still more things that we want to learn and track and understand and action on.

But, I think we’re, we’re doing a pretty good job so far and, a long road ahead, but we’re, we’re on that journey. 

Paula: Oh, for sure. So there’s definitely a long road ahead. But maybe we should even, you know, look back a little bit Gabriel, if you don’t mind. in preparation for today, I saw that actually Sally Beauty was founded in 1964.

So you’re coming up to your 60th anniversary and, and birthday next year. So first of all, congratulations. That’s an extraordinary achievement, in any country, in any market. 

Gabriel: Yes. 

Paula: So I’d love you to explain the business, maybe just, you know, for people like me who are maybe in, in different countries.

It’s incredibly specialized and very impressive what Sally Beauty’s doing. So yeah, maybe just, tell us a bit about the business overall. 

Gabriel: Absolutely. And yes, it’s, it’s, it’s a tenured business. We have, two branches. We have a B2C and a B2B branch. But basically across both branches, we distribute hair care and color products.

Whether it’s to the DIY consumer. The customer that is going to take care and color their hair at home, or whether it’s to the licensed professional, a stylist, cosmetologist, nail tech, barber. We have, the largest distribution of hair color in North America, basically across both the DIY and the, the professional stylists.

We have close to 3,500 to 4,000 stores in North America. We have US Canada, we also have a Latin America, branch where we have stores in Mexico, Chile. We have several countries in Europe as well, where we have a locations at. So, it’s a, it’s a worldwide, you know, distribution and, we have great partners.

You know, you name it, I’m not gonna mention any names, but just top 10, you know, hair color, hair care products in the world, we, we probably carry them. 

Paula: Amazing. Yeah, 

Gabriel: So it’s, it’s, it’s a great organization and, and, I’ve been in the company for about four years and still learning about the beauty space, but it is, it, it’s a space of a lot of passion and insights and again, as you, you start in the beauty space, so I’m sure you can relate, but it’s, it’s, it’s a beautiful, space to be in.

Paula: For sure what I, I remember at the time, and I was 19 actually, I set up two nail salons, would you believe? 

Gabriel: Wow. 

Paula: Which in Dublin, honestly, we were, we were certainly the first outside of the city center, the first kind of suburban nail salons.

So I definitely always had this kind of entrepreneurial thing. But I guess it’s, it’s funny you do get that sense of, as you said, the joy of the category. 

Gabriel: Yes. 

Paula: So for me, Just this incredible delight that somebody would come in, have their nails done and you know, I knew they would come back and it wasn’t just because of that transactional, recurring revenue stuff that we all kind of now as business professionals really think about, but it was actually the fact that I know they loved being with me. So I can imagine exactly the same with your hair care products.

Gabriel: On, on, on both sides, you know, of the business, whether you, you know, colored your hair at home and you had a great experience. I mean, that, that goes a long way. That’s a very, you know, hands-on experience or whether you are working with stylists or nail techs.

They have that relationship with their customer and we are their partner to try to drive their business and help them grow their business. So it’s a very emotional space to be in. And at the end of the day, our customers are using products to, you know, make themselves look more beautiful.

Which is a great thing. We’re not selling something that is, you know, doing something that’s not right or, or not, doesn’t have an emotional connection or,  you know, I’m not gonna mention any industries, but it’s one of those industries and I, I, I’ve come from a, a role, in a previous life where it was in the, women’s, specialty retail apparel space. Also a space that, you know, folks come in and buy a beautiful piece of clothing and they look beautiful. So I, it’s been a passion for me to be in businesses that, and I’ve been blessed and fortunate enough to have the opportunity to really make that emotional connection with customers.

To improve their life and, and how they are feeling about themselves. So it’s, it’s great. 

Paula: Super nice. Yeah, no, no, really well said Gabriel. It is an emotional sector and you know, that cliche I guess about win, win, win, I mean, it comes through and clearly you’re very passionate about all of that, so, so tell us a bit about the role of the structured loyalty program.

We’ve already acknowledged that loyalty’s coming from so many different things that you’re doing across the business. But you do have a structured loyalty program, and from what I can see, from my own research, it seems to be the same program regardless of whether it is your B2C customer or your B2B customer, with the distinction of just the tiers.

Am I right in understanding that Gabriel?

Gabriel: Just a, a slight point of clarification. So on the Sally Beauty side, which is our B2C, or, or predominantly, B2C side, that’s where we have the Sally Beauty Rewards loyalty program. Our B2B branch, which is Beauty Systems Group, mainly through the names of CosmoProf or Armstrong McCall.

We don’t have a tiered program per say. We do have a private label credit card that our stylists and professionals can use, but most of the time when we’re talking loyalty, tiered loyalty program, it is on the Sally Beauty site where we still have professionals purchasing in salad beauty. But it’s mainly, predominantly, a DIY consumer.

Paula: Okay. Oh, thank you for that. Absolutely. Okay. Because I do know it started out as B2B and then, you know, somewhere over the 59 years of, of business expanded

Gabriel: We’ve evolved a bit over the 59 years. For sure. 

Paula: For sure. So tell us about the rewards program. What’s the, what’s the story?

Gabriel: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. So it’s, we have, two tiers. We have Preferred and Elite. Basically for every $50 that a customer spends, they get, points to be able to get a five dollar certificate that they can use towards any purchase. So it’s about a, you know, 10 percent give back.

Paula: Nice. 

Gabriel: When a, a customer spends 200 dollars in a a year, they reach that Elite tier and that basically unlocks additional points.

So for every dollar, instead of getting 10 points, now they get 12 and a half points. They also get free shipping and they get a birthday, gift when they reach elite. So it’s, it’s, the free shipping goes a long way. The birthday gift has great results as well. 

And then we have a private label Credit Card. So if, if the customer decides to open the, the Credit Card, we accelerate the point earning that they get. So for every dollar spend, they automatically get 12 and a half points if they’re preferred. Or if they get a lead, which normally they get 12.5 points, now they get 15 points. So it’s just an accelerator of, of points.

There are other benefits for our B2B side, again, they don’t have the tiered structure, but they get a 3% discount if they have the private label Credit card. And they also get the points accelerator on the Sally side. 

So in summary, two tiers Preferred and Elite. 200 dollars gets you to elite where you unlock free shipping and, points accelerator. And if you add the credit card, you just accelerate points across whatever level you’re at. 

Paula: And you know the two words that are coming to mind, Gabriel? Two of my favorite words. One is simplicity. And the other one is generosity. 

Gabriel: Yes. Yes. Well, both words are, discussed frequently internally. I’ll start, I’m just gonna amplify in the simplicity.

I think we, we pride ourselves on having a, an easy to understand, an easy to follow program. Not a lot of tiers. You don’t need a calculator to, to get, you know, into what you’re earning or what you’re not earning. Which I will say, again, not mentioning any names, there’s some programs out there that I really need to take out a calculator, take out a book, and start understanding what do I get, where I spend, where and how it’s, it gets a little complex.

So we’ve tried ourselves on, on having that simple approach and we’ve, we’ve made efforts towards it, over the last even two, three years. We’ve taken approaches to simplify it even more. And, you know, four years ago we had a little bit more complex of a pro, program, a lot more benefits, a little bit convoluted.

So I, I think we’re in a really good place of having a simple, clean, easy to follow program which again, we pride ourselves, our customers have high satisfaction scores with, and we’ve gotten, you know, some recognitions out there on, on just having a, a really robust program. So.

Paula: Well, we need to talk about that recognition, Gabriel, because I think it’s fairly hot off the press.

So why don’t you share with the audience what, what you’ve been awarded. 

Gabriel: Oh, absolutely. So, you know, and it’s, again, we, we, it’s a moment of just celebration and cheer, but we know that there’s a lot of evolution in the customer and, and the program. So it’s not a moment of just like pausing and no, we have to keep going and keep evolving and keep, growing with the program.

But we were recognized by Newsweek who partnered with Statista as having one of America’s, best loyalty programs. And this is one recognition that did not come from a, an, an author or, or a writer in Newsweek. It came from thousands of independent surveyed consumers across dozens of industries and to be ranked, by end consumers, which are basically our customers as one of the America’s best loyalty programs.

Which by the way, two years running because last year we were also, recognized by Newsweek is just, it’s just kind of one of the many indicators that we’re on the right path and we’re on the right track again. Lot of work ahead of us, but things are going well and our customers are, are recognizing it. So exciting. 

Paula: Oh, congratulations. 

Gabriel: Thank you.

Paula: It really is. Yeah. It’s a tribute to the team. It’s a tribute to me, actually, what I, what I’m guessing is, you know, with so many stores, Gabriel, and you know, so much corporate focus. We talked about culture, but the moment of truth is actually when the customer’s in your store.

So tell us a bit about how you, I suppose, you know, take care of those associates in order for them to understand how to engender loyalty, whether it’s through the program or things like NPS, for example. Like how do you, inspire them to make sure that you get this kind of incredible, results and feeling from your customers.

Gabriel: Absolutely. And, and, and you know, our two key channels are, are stores. Of course. We also have our website, that is also our, our key, other channel. But in stores that, that associate interaction is, is critical. And we have, I mean, I have two of the, at least two of the best partners in, in, in field, organization leads in both the Sally and, and the CosmoProf sides that work with our team on a day-to-day basis.

So it, it starts with educating and, and really relaying that information of if we get a customer into loyalty, fear is that added value that we drive. They are more frequent. They spend more, they will come back to your store, our store more frequently. So I think if, if that understanding just threads from leadership all the way to our, our field associates, then every associate and serve will know that if we get a customer to enroll in the loyalty program, provide, their information so we can properly market to them and they start accruing the points and getting all these wonderful benefits.

In the long term, that customer will come back to that store, there’s a higher likelihood that that customer will come back. So it’s, it’s a win-win. The, the store associate knows that loyalty drives performance, that drives, that long-term relationship. 

So they, that it starts with education. Education at the corporate level, education at the field level, so that we’re all kind of marching towards the same goal of, of driving growth of our program and retention of our customers. And we all know it’s good. Goes back to that win-win situation. It’s a win for the customer because they’re getting benefits.

It’s a win for our associates because they’re seeing that traffic come back into stores and we have, a, a better opportunity to really target those customers. So yeah, educate us at the core of it. 

Paula: Yeah. Yeah. And, and not to be underestimated in terms of the, the amount of work involved with that Gabriel, because the job is never done.

You know, I know you’ve acknowledged that for your own team, but it sounds like you’ve got, a remarkable corporate program to ensure that that continues, not just, you know, when you onboard somebody or, you know, at, at the first oppor, opportunity, but ongoing. 

Gabriel: A hundred percent. And, and there’s, there’s alignment and all across the organization, it, it, it’s not, you know, us trying to, to, you know, drive something that there’s not a belief in. No. Everybody believes, understands. It’s clear about the benefits of loyalty from our brand present to our CEO to heads of marketing to the store associate. So it it, it just cuts across the entire organization and everybody just understands the value of it, which is, which is great.

There’s a good synergy there. And, and it leads me to, you know, the word that, that I I’ve heard you mention and I need to mention is, is team. This is not a  one man show or a small team. This is, well, first of all, we have a loyalty team. We have a CRM team, a research team and analytics team that I directly support.

And, and this couldn’t be possible without their learning of the customer strategy support. But it goes beyond that. It goes to our store team, it goes to our corporate leadership team, it goes to, our e-com teams. It goes to all the technology that goes into managing such a program. So it’s, it’s a, it’s a, an entire organizational, endeavor to maintain support, our loyalty program for our customers for sure.

Paula: Incredible. And, and how many, can you share any numbers for us, Gabriel, in terms of the scale that the, that the program is at, at the moment?

Gabriel: Probably can’t share too many numbers. But let’s say that, you know, over, an annual basis we have, north of, you know, 16 or so million active customers engaging with, with, and a little bit higher than that actually, engaging with the loyalty program.

Paula: Amazing. 

Gabriel: So there’s a lot of metrics that we track and a lot of spend and frequency and retention and NPS and satisfaction. I’d also say that, you know, NPS Net Promoter Score, just from the customers that we track and we engage with is, is very high on the Sally side. I’ll mention it’s, it’s above the, you know, 81, NPS score, which is industrywide.

It’s just you know, probably one of the best in class and, and especially for their in-store experiences, which is our biggest channel. So customers engaging with our largest channel, which is our store, you know, brick-and-mortar footprint, have, having an NPS of over 80 is just phenomenal. So it’s, it’s, we pride ourselves on, on those metrics, a lot.

And we try to deep dive into what makes up that high score. And again, it goes back to that interaction with associates, that knowledge of the program, that invitation to apply. Our product availability and cleanliness of stores or we track a lot of things that you know, sometimes folks take for granted, but every experience, every part of that experience counts.

Whether it’s how the store looks and feel, what the product we have on shelf, that interaction, the communication, the marketing, it all plays a part in, in just that long term customer experience and loyalty. 

Paula: Well, I mean, I have to say congratulations again because I mean, I think that’s the highest I’ve ever heard.

Gabriel: I, it’s one of the highest we’ve ever heard as well, so, yes. 

Paula: And, and for anybody who’s not actively using NPS, for example, what I always, you know, remind myself is that, that that, you know, kind of framework extends from a possible ranking of minus 100 up to plus 100. So, yeah, so to get in over 80, I mean, I don’t even think the Apple stores have that kind of score. I’ll have to go and Google it now after it. But clearly… 

Gabriel: We’ve looked at, yeah. We’ve looked at the Apples and the Amazons of the world and we pride ourselves because it is very high. And we’ve tracked it over a long time. We have a good benchmark of you know, of growth. So it’s not a a one-time number.

It is a consistent, and trust me, we’re still striving for more. So we, we, we look at NPS. We look at satisfaction scores across a diverse group of, of experiences. And we have great tracking over, you know, years of, of information to, to ensure that we’re always optimizing, optimizing, optimizing. So it is a not easy to get there, but but it’s, yeah, but you’re right. The job’s never done. 

Paula: Yeah. That’s the fun, you know? Yeah. That’s why we get up in the morning. 

Gabriel: Absolutely. 

Paula: I mean, you mentioned the, obviously offline is, is predominantly your, your biggest channel, would you say, you know, in terms of the online experience and, you know, I’m probably just, you know, asking, you know, top of mind, you know, are there particular challenges that you think your online business really has to, to focus on or work harder, or work differently in terms of earning loyalty versus having that opportunity of, again, obviously a very well-trained member of staff. So, because we all know the challenges of usability and, you know, e-commerce, I know obviously thrived during the pandemic, for example, but I know it is retreating back to, to pre covid levels, but, just I suppose anecdotally, Gabriel, in your experience, would you say people are, are more loyal if they buy online or any kind of key insights that you can share on that?

Gabriel: That’s, yeah. Great question. As far as, as Sally is concerned, I, I personally feel we have, we have an amazing site, mobile app. There’s always  adjustments and evolution. There’s a long, you know, good roadmap to, to continue improving. So I think the teams are doing an amazing job of just having a top-notch digital experience.

But just in general, you know, Sally or not Sally, I, I personally feel that that personal interaction is, is magical. But it varies by, by brand and industry. I mean, I have, again, I am an Amazon shopper. Amazon is strictly, or, you know, mostly digital. So there’s, it doesn’t have that opportunity to interact as much.

But I love going to, you know, whether it’s, local apparel, clothing company that I visit, and having that interaction and having somebody remember your name as a ongoing customer, that that just goes a long way. Or when I visit my local barber, I mean there’s some industries obviously that, that depending on, on, on the service that you’re getting, it’s just a lot more, you know, connected…

Paula: Connect.

Gabriel: But I, I think there’s a magical experience with that in-person interaction. And again, we, we, we understand that for our customer. We try to improve that and, and maximize that as much as possible. And we also try to see is how do we evolve the digital experience to try to get to that you know, connection, that education that, you know, somewhat personal, you know, bridge through a website or mobile app.

And there’s a lot of pretty, interesting projects that are coming down the pipeline that I, I think are gonna be pretty innovative, in the space. So, looking forward to that.

I can’t share too much at this point, but, but yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s always done a discussion of how do we bring that personal connection to the digital space. 

Paula: Well, so you’ve already gone on the follow up list, so we’re gonna have to have you back on the show, I think every year now, Gabriel. 

Gabriel: Sure.

Paula: So that’s, that’s definitely a thing we love to hear about innovative product projects.

But what did, strike me again, just, you know, with my consumer hat on from exploring the Sally Beauty website was actually, particularly the creativity. Which I guess is maybe the more of the brand side of loyalty marketing. So, in particular, this genius, song about, you know, I hope I get the words right, Gabriel, forgive me. Just because you color your hair, doesn’t make you unprofessional. Beautiful.

Gabriel: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. 

Paula: Incredible. Yeah.

Gabriel: I, well, I’m very proud and we are all very proud. We, we, we have a, an incredible marketing team. Our, our just marketing strategy leads, digital strategy and our creative lead is, is just brilliant.

And I think over the last three or so years, we’ve had a lot of evolution. We’ve had the, you know, the amazing viral song, that, that was just a great hit. As well as, the work that they’re doing on the site, the work that they’re doing in stores, from a messaging, a copy, a creative look and feel has just been night and day, over the last several years.

It is just come you know, gone through an amazing evolution and I think from what I see that’s to come is even more exciting. And it’s just, again, clicking on that emotional connection. 

Paula: Totally. 

Gabriel: How do we make, you know, and bring that emotion to life through our marketing, through our visuals, through our videos, through our social networks, through our emails is, is something we strive for. And it’s an emotional space, so how do we, you know, just amplify that and you know, that diversity, the inclusion on models, on products, on, you know, ages, you name it. It’s all coming to life in our creative, which is, it’s just an amazing. 

Paula: And, and again, it’s, it, it’s, it’s certainly an objective of mine on this show, Gabriel, is to really shine a light on the role of those, creative assets, ideas, and inspiration because there’s no point having all the points and the generosity and this simplified, wonderful program unless as a consumer, when I come to the Sally Beauty website, I see something that’s truly engaging.

Gabriel: Absolutely. 

Paula: So, so the, the, I’m guessing the song was commissioned because it’s so beautifully on point. 

Gabriel: It is, it is. It’s. 

Paula: Is that fair? 

Gabriel: Yeah, that is fair. Yes. Correct. 

Paula: Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s absolutely genius. And I realized, I obviously have some of these judgments about people with colored hair. I mean, it’s, it’s shocking that I’m at even admitting that.

But there is a job to be done in terms of accepting this kind of diversity. Just because somebody is pink hair doesn’t mean they’re gonna serve me my food any less, or it’s unbelievable. 

Gabriel: A hundred percent. And, and we, we fight ourselves on, on, on just, you know, having a welcoming, culture, inspiring a more colorful world.

I mean, it is just, it’s in our DNA. And we, you know, our customers, our associates, everybody in Sally, we, I think we pride ourselves off of just having that openness and that welcoming, culture. We were, recently also ranked, as being one of America’s, best places for diversity. So…

Paula: Wow.

Gabriel: You know, and, and it’s, it’s just very, you know, feeling and emotional. So it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s great. It’s great to see our customers. And the great, you know, variety and diversity in our customer base as well as our associate base. So it’s. 

Paula: Totally. 

Gabriel: It’s how we, we operate. 

Paula: Totally. And I don’t think I’m gonna go for the pink hair at this stage in my life, Gabriel.

Gabriel: You look great. I would love it. 

Paula: Honestly, you know, there’s, there’s a time and a place who knows what the future may hold. There was that gorgeous model, to your point about the age diversity and I mean, she looked like 90 years old and the happiest pink carriage person., 

Gabriel: Yes, yes, yes, yes. Oh, we know who that is.

And, and it’s not just, I mean, we have the vivids and we have just the great coverage is, and we have, you know, the, the, the core, color products. So we have a wide variety, and then there’s care products and bonding products that, that  there’s a amazing diversity of, of products as well for all types of, usages, or, or usage across, you know, the, the industry.

So it’s, we cater to everybody who has hair will probably benefit from some type of product that we sell.

Paula: Totally. Yeah. And it comes back to one of the, the, the pillars about, you know, there is absolutely no point in having a loyalty program unless the core business again has absolutely, you know, everything robust in terms of quality.

So yeah, that, that’s getting the basics right. But yeah, I loved just to see, I suppose the, you know, the, these various aspects that I believe are underappreciated. The tone of voice, the visuals, they are all brand assets that definitely drive the emotion of loyalty. So I can see that coming through. So a masterclass, if anybody hasn’t looked at the Sally Beauty website, you can absolutely go and learn there.

Gabriel: Yes, please visit and and continue visiting. Cause I think the evolution that’s coming is, is gonna be amazing. So, yes. 

Paula: Wow. 

Gabriel: We’ll see. 

Paula: Okay. The final bit I wanted to ask you about Gabriel, was something I just picked up on, when I was looking at that kind of tier structure that you talked through and it mentioned that, essentially the current program you run is replacement for an older program.

And I know you, you already mentioned there was one there, more complex, but what I did also notice was that previously it was a paid program, so there was, I think, phenomenal kind of, membership fee of maybe five dollars. And just given that subscription is such a topical subject for so many people who are thinking about implementing paid loyalty programs, you know, inspired by the likes of Amazon Prime.

Clearly Sally Beauty made the opposite decision. And I know it was your before your time, but can you share any insights as to why that decision was taken or the kind of impact it had once it was done? 

Gabriel: Absolutely and, and it did happen, before my time, after I joined, we had just shifted out of the, the paid program.

I, I will say that. Yes. To me personally, I think the, the fewer barriers you have for entry, the better. And now again, you have the Amazons, you have other, other, programs of the world. But I, for our specific customer, and I know there was a lot of research, that took place. We felt that just, again, simplification, removing barriers, just making it easy, simple to join, to gain points, to reach Elite to, leverage the benefits was, was critical.

It’s how we operate the program is how we continue to operate and, and look to continuing to operate in the future. But that simplicity was just a focal point and a big part of that decision. And, and we have a very healthy program. So decision was the correct one. I mean, based on all the metrics that I know of, it, it was, it was the right decision to make.

Paula: Wow. 

Gabriel: I don’t foresee a paid program in our immediate future. I don’t, I can’t say never, because, you know, things evolve. But I think with the metrics that we have, with the adoption that we have, we’re in a great space. So, I again, whatever went into the decision, which I know a lot of our customers inputs went into it and financials. It was the right one. And, again, it, it just goes back to simplicity. 

Paula: Super. Thank you for that. Yeah, I, I think it was important again, just even for me to get that, basic understanding because at the end of the day, I think every loyalty professional needs to evaluate if subscription is appropriate for their business and that might you know, mean, concluding that it’s not, but it was definitely a brave person who decided actually to give up that existing revenue. As I know it was even for Amazon Prime. I remember reading some interviews, you know, everybody kind of sees the, you know, now the top line revenue numbers on the subscription payments, but they forget all the revenue that was given up on the shipment.

You know, so, so all of those costs now have to be covered. So I think it’s very easy to say subscription is, is you know the solution to all of our marketing problems and to get the forever customers and ultimate loyalty, whatever we wanna call it. But..  

Gabriel: It’s a complex decision. For sure. 

Paula: It totally is.

Gabriel: There’s, there’s a lot of factors. Financial and customer insights and just standing of the company that, that go into a, a, a, a large decision like that. So yes. Lots of it.

Paula: Incredible, incredible. So listen, Gabriel, that is all, I wanted to ask, from you today. As I said, it’s a very inspiring program.

I can’t wait to get back to the US sometime and go and visit one of your stores. It sounds amazing. 

Gabriel: Of course. More than welcome, please. 

Paula: And between now and then, of course, I will be following all of your progress, of course, on LinkedIn and, Newsweek and anywhere else that’s celebrating your, your success.

But tell me, is there anything else that you think is important for our audience to hear before we wrap up? 

Gabriel: I’d, I’d say two things that come to mind is, you know, listen to your customer. You know, whether you have a research program in place or surveys or focus groups, but I mean, obviously start with the customer.

I, I’ve seen a lot of decisions that are made and in corporate offices or boardrooms without the voice of the customer at the table. And you know, sometimes they get it right. Sometimes it’s like, you know, what happened? I’m like, well, did you have your customers, you know, wants and needs and expectations at the table?

So that’s, that’s a big, big, area of opportunity and, and just consideration across any loyalty program or any decision, loyalty or not. And then two, it’s, just a big thank you to, to my team, to my immediate team, especially the loyalty team, especially the CRM team, analytics, the research team, and then just a broad organization.

And, and for any organization, it’s, it’s not a one person or small group. This, this loyalty is, is evolving, it’s evolving rapidly, and it requires everybody in the organization to be really aligned and focused on driving a customer loyalty, whether it’s through a structured program or just that customer experience across any touchpoint.

So a huge thank you to my team specifically. But, just keep in mind that it is a team effort, to really, drive a successful loyalty program. 

Paula: They are very wise words Gabriel. So thank you. Absolutely. And again, huge acknowledgement to the incredible success. I do hope you will stay in touch with us, of, and make sure that we can keep the story going over time.

It’s amazing how quickly 12 months will fly by and we will be super keen to hear everything that’s going. So with all of that said, Gabriel Trujillo, Vice President of CRM, Loyalty, Customer Analytics and Research with Sally Beauty. Thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty. 

Gabriel: Thank you, Paula. Appreciate it. 

Paula: This show was sponsored by The Wise Marketer, the world’s most popular source of loyalty, marketing news, insights and research. The Wise Marketer also offers loyalty marketing training through its Loyalty Academy, which is already certified over 500 executives in 38 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals. For more information, check out thewisemarketer.com at loyaltyacademy.org.

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