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What Your Business Can Learn From A Barbershop

Posted by John on August 15th, 2012

With music becoming an integral part of the brand and the experience for many businesses and concepts, this barbershop’s branding practices are applicable to other industries.

Floyd’s 99 Barbershop is the brainchild of Paul, Rob and Bill O’Brien, owners of Observ Inc., a Denver-based foodservice subcontractor that operated sports and concert venues from the Midwest to the West Coast. When the brothers decided to venture into the highly competitive hair care industry a decade ago, their goal was to create a cutting-edge concept that would generate plenty of buzz. Much like restaurant owners, they knew the success of their venture would rely on creating an innovative customer experience, and they wanted music to play an important role.


Finding the right sound for the unique brand, however, was complicated. Initially, the staff was in charge of deciding what music played, using radio stations. Different staff members had different taste in music, making consistency difficult to achieve. “We knew our music in our stores was a problem,” said Rob O’Brien, co-founder of Floyd’s 99. “We would get emails from customers, saying they loved their haircuts but hated the music. We were making a promise that we were a cool, hip, music place, but the truth was that we weren’t. We were only as good as the person at the front desk who was in charge of music that day at that location.” The company needed to fine-tune its musical game to entice new customers (and new franchisees), but it wanted to avoid the complicated maze of music licensing regulations.

Floyd’s 99 partnered with Custom Channels to customize an in-store music mix for its shops. Floyd’s 99 Radio, which is delivered via real-time Internet streaming, was an instant hit. To further connect with customers, Custom Channels created an Internet radio station for the Floyd’s 99 website.

The result is that music is now a core element of the Floyd’s 99 brand. “Music runs through the entire customer experience, from our radio station to the poster art on our walls to connections with the local music scene to our occasional marketing promotions to our staff who live and breathe it,” said Karl Wimer, head of marketing for Floyd’s 99 Barbershop. “We’re not shy to share Floyd’s 99 Radio, so the volume is up, and our music is front and center. Customers love it. We also have a significant following online with Floyd’s 99 Radio, and we’re excited to soon add Floyd’s 99 Radio to our iPhone and Android apps.”

Not only has partnering with Custom Channels helped Floyd’s enhance its brand, it also has saved the company time and money. “By using Custom Channels, we spend less now than we did by licensing on our own and it’s a lot less hassle,” said O’Brien.

Excerpted from an article by Missy Baxter for FastCasual.com. Read full story here, registration required. Photos from floydsbarbershop.com.

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