New York Spa Launches Campaign that Could Change Industry Standards
Complexions Spa for Beauty and Wellness has worked hard to secure a unique place in a highly competitive industry since its establishment in 1987. We sat down with owner Denise Dubois to discuss her strategy for success, and how she has managed to own the space that has served a region of 1.2 million for almost 30 years.
Denise Dubois, Owner
After the flagship location in Albany, New York received national recognition as the first spa in the United States to earn a Gold certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED rating system, the business has since expanded, with the opening of a second location that rendered $600k in construction costs alone.
The home of the second location boasts 43 residential condos, with prices ranging from $650k to $2 million. Dubois declined to say how much she spent to buy the two-story unit, but said that after being in the business for 26 years, she knew it was time to expand—and Saratoga Springs seemed like the perfect spot. The 6,500-square-foot facility opened late September 2014 and has seen rapid success in its early months.
"We chose Saratoga Springs for the second Complexions Spa location based on its long history of health and wellness, which makes it a natural fit for us," said Dubois. "We have also tapped into the healing power of Saratoga’s natural mineral water for all of our hydrotherapy offerings.”
In addition to this announcement, the business trademarked a new campaign that has received widespread interest from business owners across the industry. Pamper with a Purpose™ embraces the notion that spa treatments should not be an occasional indulgence but rather a lifestyle adopted for enhanced wellness.
Here is what Dubois has to say about a campaign that just might change the nature of marketing the spa services.
What was your reasoning for developing a campaign like this?
Spas originated centuries ago on the premise of health and wellbeing. Despite the modern idea of a “spa day” as a rare treat, I wanted to focus on the original purpose of a spa visit. I wanted take our understanding of a spa back to its roots of restoration and healing, rather than the superficial indulgence many Americans today now assume it to be.
What has this done for the branding of your business?
It has become a unique selling point that no one else can offer the community. The consumer understands the healing benefits associated with the services we offer. We also offer sauna and steam therapy with all of our services. Our goal is to educate our guests about the wellness benefits of their spa visit, in addition to the relaxation and pampering they seek.
Has the campaign had an impact on overall business success?
It has been extremely successful. Not only has it proven to be a viable revenue effort, but it has also set us apart from area competitors. This initiative has allowed us to take our effort in building our spa "green" as a Gold level LEED certified business to the next level, further enhancing our brand image while supporting our wellness commitments. Since opening in 1987, we have expanded several times. We now see more than 3,600 guests per month.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.