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USP not consistent; can be copied: Rahul Balachandran, YLG Salon

14-December-2017
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USP not consistent; can be copied: Rahul Balachandran, YLG Salon

With health, hygiene and fitness being the new trend today, more players are now getting in the business and trying to prove their USP. Rahul Balachandra, CEO & Co-founder of YLG Salon, tells us how he tried to differentiate YLG from other players through their strategy of consistently offering best global class services to Indian women at extremely affordable prices. He also spoke about how a USP is not a consistent differentiator and anyone could copy it. Excerpts from this conversation at the Start-ups Club Demo Day event:

The space that YLG is in is pretty cluttered. How do you differentiate yourself?

We have built a significant stack of products and they help us give customers the sort of services that no other player is currently offering. Even when we started, the concept of YLG was to bring the global, best of class services and products to the Indian women at prices which are very reasonable. And we have built the organisation, the processes, capabilities of supply and all else towards that. So anybody wanting to compete on this basis will never be able to match up to the kind of products, services and ambience which we offer and at the price which we offer.

In other words, it is very similar to EDLP strategy, which is Everyday Low Price that people use in retail. The concept is not just about doing something great once, but on a sustainable basis and consistently giving a much higher value to your customer. It’s not about giving the best hairstylist in town. If you say that is your USP then you will go and tell everyone about it and someone will copy it. It is not something patented that people can’t use. But it’s the combination of all the things which we do in terms of product, service, technology and processes that we have built, that gives consistent service quality of that delivery, all these things will go to differentiate us from competition.

What sort of marketing mix do you usually follow?

We do a lot of print. We do outdoor in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. We have also done a lot on digital media as well. If you take the mediums spend, this year our biggest spend would be on outdoor, followed by print.

What’s your marketing strategy?

Marketing strategy is to keep on communicating the differentiated services and offerings to customers. Also give them the whole concept that the value you get at YLG is significantly higher than anywhere else.

Which according to you would be some major campaigns by YLG?

One of them is what we started this financial year. It’s a first in the world and about brightening wax. This is a very unique service and product. We have the exclusive right to use this product for the next five years in India. It not only waxes but also brightens the skin, which is something that the customers are looking for. That was our first campaign which was outdoor and only print in Chennai. This was a big print and outdoor campaign in Bengaluru. We also launched our annual campaign on national hairstyles. Every year, we collaborate with the finest hairstylists across Asia and build new hairstyles and colouring techniques, which are the latest in the world. We bring them to the customers where can be sure they will get consistent delivery across all stalls.

What are your future marketing plans?

We keep doing such activities which build greater value for money and strengthen our image as a highly expertise driven brand. We do it because we have invested a lot of time and money in building the support systems for the brand, which no other salon chain has got. We have a huge training infrastructure which really churns out consistently high-quality people and we re-train people. The amount of training we do, I don’t think anybody in the industry does.

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