Best practice from Bottle PR
Toni&Guy is one of the best known hairdressing brands in the world. The company was founded in 1963 by Italian-born brothers Toni and Guy Mascolo in Clapham, South London, and has grown to 402 salons in 41 countries.
It also runs 28 educational academies around the world, owns the Essensuals chain of salons, and is the only hairdressing brand to have both ‘SuperBrand’ and ‘CoolBrand’ status.
Although Toni&Guy is a household name and Toni Mascolo - who still heads the company as CEO - is in the Sunday Times Rich List, he had a low media profile. When Toni was to be awarded an honorary OBE for services to the British hairdressing industry, it was the perfect opportunity to raise his profile as a business leader.
Toni&Guy has a large in-house PR, marketing, and advertising team for its consumer and trade communications, but needed to bring in business media expertise. The in-house team had such rapport with Bottle PR in the pitch meeting that the agency was hired on the spot.
The objective was to generate high-quality coverage in the broadsheets, business pages and the business and finance press, as well as broadcast coverage. Specifically, the team was asked to:
• Promote Toni’s achievements inside and outside the hairdressing industry
• Position Toni as a successful entrepreneur with real business insight
• Highlight Toni’s passion for his family and his charitable work.
The strategy was to use the OBE as a hook for features and profiles on Toni Mascolo, with the theme: ‘Who is the businessman behind the Toni&Guy superbrand?’
The team at Bottle PR had to work fast: they started work on 8 October 2008 and the OBE would be presented less than three weeks later on 27 October.
The team kicked off with a messaging workshop. The resulting key messages and proof points included:
• Toni&Guy is a British company that has expanded globally
• Toni&Guy and Toni Mascolo are award-winners- as well as the OBE, Toni was presented with an Italian Knighthood in 2006
• Education is at the core of Toni&Guy’s success: the Artistic Team teach an average of 100,000 hairdressers every year
• Toni&Guy is a leader in creativity and innovation. Toni’s daughter Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck is Global Creative Director, and the company has a number of innovative haircare product ranges
• Toni&Guy launched the Toni&Guy Charitable Foundation in 2003, and is committed to raising £700,000 for the refurbishment of the Toni&Guy ward at the Variety Club Children’s Hospital, King’s College
• The company is still family owned and there are no shareholders
• Toni Mascolo is hands on and still cuts in two London salons.
Since the short timescale meant long lead and weekly titles were out, the decision was made to target a very select group of business journalists. The team carried out in-depth research into journalists in the target media, looking at areas such as business leaders they had interviewed, the angles they had taken, and topics they were interested in.
Bottle PR drew up a shortlist of just 35 journalists, and after extensive preparation, called each one with a personally tailored pitch for profile pieces, interviews or features to be published in the run up to and after the OBE was awarded.
After selling in to the target journalists, the team also prepared and distributed a media release about the OBE.
Results, evaluation and measurement
The campaign led to 16 pieces of high-quality media coverage, including:
• Independent – full page with colour photo – ‘The Salon Supremo’
• The Sunday Times – full page Andrew Davidson interview with colour photo, titled ‘King of the Hairdressers’
• Daily Telegraph – ‘Toni demonstrates why he’s a guy whose business is a cut above’
• Financial Times – ‘How to give it’ (quarter of back page of weekend paper)
• Real Business – magazine and online
• BBC 2’s ‘Working Lunch’
• BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans Show
• Guardian: G2 section and guardian.co.uk
• BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Bottom Line’ interview with Evan Davis, also televised on BBC 2.
Every piece of coverage was positive and communicated the relevant key messages.
Final results against objectives
On a miniscule budget – just £12,000 - Bottle PR achieved some astonishing media results. Bottle PR met the objective of generating high-quality coverage in the broadsheets, business pages and the business and finance press, as well as broadcast coverage.
The first campaign to raise the profile of Toni&Guy’s founder as a business leader succeeded in promoting Toni’s achievements inside and outside the hairdressing industry, and positioning him as a successful entrepreneur with a passion for family values and charity.
For social media training and digital PR training, contact the experts at The Knowledge Engineers.
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