5 Questions with Debbie Gonzalez, Chief Brand Officer, Massage Envy

Darren Buford: Massage Envy’s “Because Everything” campaign is aimed at shifting the perception of massage therapy as a luxury item to its ability to help with pain and injuries. Can you elaborate on this marketing direction?

Debbie Gonzalez: It’s honestly very simple. Massages have a history of being viewed as luxurious pampering treatments unavailable to everyone. “Because Everything” completely defies this perception.

We’re all living this thing we call life. We’re cramped on airplane seats. We’re in the car for hours at a time—running errands, commuting to work, and chauffeuring kids to activities. We’re sitting at desks for hours at a time. There are so many life moments that can trigger stress and over time, they take a toll on our bodies and overall health. Launching the “Because Everything” campaign was our way of drawing people’s attention to these everyday occurrences and how to use massage therapy to manage the side effects, such as body tension and stress.

Treating our bodies well is not a luxury. We all need to be able to bounce back and enjoy everything life has to offer. And taking care of our bodies and incorporating revitalizing measures into our lifestyles contributes to this and is what the “Because Everything” campaign is about.

DB: The new campaign targets Millennials, baby boomers, and men. Please explain the decision to target these specific markets.

DG: There are always cultural shifts happening between generations, but we’ve gone to great lengths with the “Because Everything” campaign to show that massages are about overall wellness for everyone. 

What we’ve found is that the common denominator for many people is having a busy life. So with our campaign, we are focused on people—regardless of age or gender—who are seeking balance and want to be more health-conscious. So, as a brand, we like to think we target “life enthusiasts” in general.  And it’s been great to see so many people pay closer attention to their bodies and include massage in their lifestyles.

DB: What do you want massage therapists and bodyworkers to know about Massage Envy?

DG: That, like them, we are committed to helping people feel their best. And that we are constantly evolving to meet the needs of not only customers, but therapists as well.  

As the largest employer of therapists, we are creating a community within our brand that connects therapists and estheticians to opportunities to continuously learn and grow from one another.

We have more than 1,100 franchised locations across the country and have opened the brand’s first international locations in Australia. We’re transforming our technology platform to better serve guests and this empowers massage therapists as well to provide the personalized care that makes each massage or skin care treatment a customized experience.

We have a commitment to an employee brand. For instance, our brand promise of “we help you take care of you” extends to employees of our franchisees as well. We’re also focused on creating safe work environments that enable therapists to take care of themselves and prevent injuries. Our culture focuses on empowering massage therapists and estheticians through best-in-class education and training, supportive environments, and opportunities to truly make a difference in the lives of each member and guest. 

DB: Only 30 percent of US adults have received a massage. What is ME’s role in expanding that population?

DG: The 70 percent who haven’t received one don’t know what they’re missing, but that’s what we’re here for!

We’re working very hard to change the perception of massage. Going back to our “Because Everything” campaign, it’s critical for people to begin to look at a massage as more than just a way to temporarily relieve pain or enjoy a few moments of relaxation. Taking care of our bodies is not a luxury—it’s something that must be done that helps us all to cope better with everyday life.

We created the membership model that continues to lead our industry today and feel it’s been one of the best ways for anyone to enjoy the long-term benefits of massage therapy. The memberships provide easy and affordable access to a customized massage designed as a part of a personal wellness plan and can also go a long way in increasing the percentage of people who receive massage.

DB: As the number one employer of practitioners in the profession, how does Massage Envy strive to attract and keep more MTs as long-term employees? Is there room for advancement within each location?  

DG: Massage Envy franchisees collectively employ more than 25,000 therapists and estheticians. Overall, we know that Massage Envy franchise locations need and value those who are qualified and have a natural desire to help people. As I touched on before, our industry training is widely respected and therapists know they are a part of something very special.

At most Massage Envy franchise locations, massage therapists and estheticians are offered flexible schedules needed for an optimum work-life balance and ongoing development that helps them perfect their craft. As a brand, we continuously encourage franchisees to foster a culture that is friendly and supportive, and to value the feedback their staff provides in order to create the best work environment for therapists and estheticians.

As far as advancement, the opportunities are there. Many regional trainers and clinical managers have been promoted from other internal positions, becoming the type of long-term contributors needed to continue the growth and respect people have for the Massage Envy brand.

To watch Massage Envy’s “Because Everything” campaign, click here.

—Darren Buford is the director of editorial, design, and digital strategy for Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals. 

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