Building brand awareness.
Akada is a modern hair studio with a team of vibrant, talented stylists. They keep the business fresh and set themselves apart from the competition by placing a strong emphasis on stylist education and lifelong learning. As a celebration of 20 years in business, I was tasked with creating a new brand and visual identity to represent the future of Akada.
The salon landscape in Columbus is becoming increasingly more competitive and it can be difficult to stand out. Because of Akada’s long history, current clients are extremely loyal but in order for a stylist to remain sustainable, they must constantly be acquiring new patrons. The salon had substantial credibility and potential, but the marketing and digital presence weren’t conveying the level or professionalism or expertise required to bring in new faces.
My primary goal was to give the brand a fresh face. I saw an opportunity to create a new identity that was truly reflective of the team — to help promote their expertise and help secure their position as a creative leader within the community.
I started with a brand re-work that could then be translated into fresh print and digital materials to create a cohesive and templated system.
I worked with Columbus-based videographer Caleb Sapp to bring Akada to life on the homepage. We constructed a shot list to focus on the people, space, product, and interactions to convey what it feels like when you step into the salon.
We implemented custom CSS to have the video auto-play in the header when the user lands on the homepage.
The website had to be a strong balance of form+function. I wanted the site to give a modern, vibrant feel to truly reflect the brand, but functional elements had to be large, clear, and actionable to account for the less tech-savvy segment of the client demographic.
Working closely with the stylists, I created a section of the website dedicated to a “Style Guide”. We wanted a place to house editorial-like content to show users how forward-thinking and on-trend the stylists were.
The content would be replaced seasonally with aspirational images and quick tips, tricks, or trends. Creating the site with Squarespace allowed me to build a structure that the stylists could easily update on their own without needing a developer to implement the content. I wanted them to have a level of ownership and independence with the site content, so things could continually evolve and change to keep up with their fast paced industry.
Each stylist was given a dedicated bio page within the About section where users could go to read about the team. To keep the content fun and approachable, the bio ended with a high-level Q&A based on topics I pulled together to help their personality really shine through.
We concepted and designed an ecommerce extension of the site where users could re-purchase products sold at Akada, but found in research that the current clients preferred to purchase in-store after consulting with their stylist first, especially when trying new products.
In a later phase, we launched a blog on the site where the stylists could compose more long-form editorial content, and help boost our digital presence and SEO.
Articles focus on topics like trends, inspiration, product launches+recommendations, client transformations, and “behind the chair” content. Each article ends with a CTA linking out to relevant content on the various Akada social platforms to help recirculate users instead of hitting a dead end at the bottom of the page.