I began working in aesthetics 17 years ago. During that time I have worked as an aesthetician, a makeup artist, a counter manager, a skin care media spokesperson, a public relations director, a vice president of public relations, a published author, and now the CEO of a PR firm. Working as a cosmetics manager at Bergdorf Goodman had to be the position that taught me the most. I learned how to be quick on my feet and satisfy the needs of clients who settled for nothing less than the best. If I could point to one theme that has moved me from one aspect of my career to the next – I would say it is my persistence to continuously challenge myself. This philosophy is espoused by the agency as well. We never do what’s been done before constantly try to find innovative ways to keep reinventing ourselves and explore new categories in the marketplace. Whether it’s embracing a new media platform, creating a spa showroom in Times Square, publishing a trend report, or being the first to say what’s hot or not. We constantly strive to be a leader in communications for the beauty and wellness industry. From aesthetician to CEO of a leading Beauty and Fashion media relations firm is a big jump. As with most things it required a lot of work. I got here because my black book of media contacts was one of the best in the industry – I knew every TV producer, beauty editor, and magazine publisher in New York. These relationships positioned me well to help brands connect with the media. In my opinion people come to a particular spa/skin care clinic for two very simple reasons, the experience and the results. A customer today needs to feel that a spa fits seamlessly into their lifestyle and personality, whether the services help to promote spiritual happiness, keep them looking youthful, or help them to relax in a stressful world. Whenever the consumer leaves they need to see an improved complexion, free of blemishes, with harsh lines and wrinkles softened. Staff is what separates the best facilities. When you meet the aesthetician and have a treatment, the magic begins. Even if the spa has very little in way of décor, a great staff can make the experience powerful.
More from our interview with Pierce:
Do you have any regrets, or is there any one thing you can point to and think, “I wish I would have done that differently” or “if only I had known then what I know now.”
Yes, a few years ago we experienced rapid growth in the agency that propelled us onto the Inc. Magazine list as one of America’s fastest growingly privately held companies. It was challenging to deliver against the larger client portfolio without some things falling through the cracks. I’ve learned that in business you have to be prepared for every contingency and have plans in place far in advance of changes occurring.
Is there a guaranteed way for spas/clinics to get press?
In the world of public relations, there are no guarantees. That said, there are essential steps in creating a PR strategy, including:
- The creation of a PR calendar detailing the communications to a diverse array of press outlets
- Compelling and aesthetically pleasing photography of the interior of the spa
- Testimonials from clients
- Before and after photography highlighting the efficacy of the treatments
- Complimentary spa treatments for the press usually accompanied by an open house or affair of services
- A service unique to the spa, whether it is a signature treatment brought in from another country or a custom treatment using exotic ingredients.
Is there a guaranteed way for spas/clinics to get denied press once or indefinitely?
It’s been our experience that the press does not typically cover spas that are:
- Generic, offering nothing different from their competitors
- Are exorbitantly priced
- Expect a placement simply because they were given a free treatment.
In your opinion what is the quintessential promotion that can benefit any facility, whether it is a solo practitioner or one with 25 employees.
If you want to book up, offer an added service as a gift with purchase of a full priced treatment. Stay away from the Groupon mentality—you will end up overbooked with one-time customers who won’t be loyal in the end.