How a new haircut (and everything else) is about marketing

What you wear, what you say, how you say it and what’s on top of your head all conveys a message. Make sure you’re sending the right one.

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I got a haircut last week. My stylist lopped off eight inches of hair. Eight inches. I sucked in my breath when she handed me the first wet, orphaned clump. Too late now, I said, as she kept right on snipping. She shaped my formerly long, somewhat unruly auburn locks into a sassy, wavy bob. The hair that had once hung down between my shoulder blades now curled just under my ears.

A few hours later, I debuted my look at a business function, and I found the reception to my transformation a bit surprising. One of my friends actually jumped up and down shrieking, “Oh my God! I love it!” Another friend couldn’t stop touching my hair and cooed how much more professional I looked—and younger, too.

Which got me thinking how much a haircut says about marketing. Not fashion. Not vanity. Marketing.

All those years, what had my long hair said about me? Did it make me look messy, unorganized, unprepared? What did the short hair portray now? Professionalism, maturity, expertise? I had, by shedding the sheepdog look, rebranded myself. And from the spontaneous outbursts of glee and support from my closest colleagues, the new brand look was a closer representation of the me they know and love.

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