A beautiful business

Engaging a specialist beauty PR agency can help boost awareness, credibility and sales.

From manicures and massages to colours and cuts, the beauty business is booming. According to Mintel, salon spend has increased by more than 50 per cent in ten years, with around £13bn spent annually on hair and beauty treatments. While the number of start-ups in other sectors such as finance is falling, 50 beauty salons, training schools or self-employed therapists launch a business every month (Data 8). Add to this the fact that retail giant Tesco is so keen to grab a slice of the lucrative beauty pie that it is introducing in-store salons, and it's clear that this sector's popularity is soaring.

But with hundreds of new salons and products hitting the high street annually, communicating the value of one brand over another becomes more challenging. Thus, increasing awareness among target audiences requires in-depth knowledge not just of PR, but also of the market.

As specialists in beauty and hair PR, Unleashed Potential lives and breathes the industry. If we're not in the office liaising with beauty journalists or planning strategic beauty PR campaigns, then we'll be on a hair awards judging panel, testing the latest products in the evening, or visiting a spa at the weekend trialing a new treatment. Beauty is our passion as well our career. And this unwavering sector focus brings our clients numerous benefits.

As specialists we already have the right connections. And by representing multiple clients in one sector we are more useful to those media contacts. If you were a beauty journalist on a deadline, rather than contacting a generic agency with a solitary beauty client, wouldn't you prefer to have a specialist agency representing several beauty brands on speed dial?

What's more, a specialist agency's bulging book of contacts goes beyond the beauty press. We recognise that an endorsement from a top hairdresser or celebrity has a huge impact on our clients' brands, so we've spent years cultivating relationships with influential individuals.

As we represent a variety of brands, when we're working with hairdressers and make-up artists from The X Factor for example, rather than providing them with just one product we're able to supply several. In the past month alone, this has resulted in not only hairdressers and make-up artists raving about our brands in numerous editorial features and on social media sites; it has also led to tweets from Kelly Rowland and X Factor contestants.

Engaging a specialist agency also helps save time and money. While generic agencies need time to familiarise themselves with that sector (and often charge you for the privilege), with specialists there's no handholding required. Every day we're immersed in the industry and are constantly speaking with journalists, salons and consumers to find out about the challenges they're facing and their product preferences - whether it's related to packaging or ingredients. Armed with this inside knowledge, we could secure much faster the results that it may take non-specialist agencies several months to achieve.

But specialising in beauty doesn't restrict our knowledge to this area. Having promoted everything from fashion to films, our team also recognises the value of looking beyond our sector and gaining inspiration from campaigns outside of our field.

Ultimately though, beauty PR is our focus. And with forecasters predicting continued growth for our industry in the future, whether it's a nail polish, make-up or skincare brand that's keen to boost awareness and sales, we'll be ready, willing and able to unleash our specialist beauty PR expertise.


Which film best sums up the spirit of your agency?

The A-Team. Like Hannibal, Face, BA Baracus and Murdock, everyone at Unleashed Potential works fantastically well as a team and we love it 'when a plan comes together'.We can relate to the essence of the film communicated in the intro: 'If you have a problem and if no-one else can help ... hire The A-Team.'

What is the most impressive piece of launch PR of the past year?

Any Apple launch. Whether it's the iPad 2 or the iPhone 4S, you'd be hard pushed to find a newspaper, magazine or website across all sectors that didn't cover the launch or products in someway. It completely captured the world's attention.

Sharleen Hunter is the founder of Unleashed Potential.

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