Digital Disruption, Grow or Die, Blue Dot Consumer Conversations Dominate PBA’s 2016 Executive Summit

Sold-Out Event Draws Hundreds of Beauty Industry Leaders from Across U.S. to Arizona


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Dec. 12, 2016) The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) hosted its third annual Executive Summit in Scottsdale, Ariz. at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia from Nov. 30 – Dec. 1, 2016. The sold-out two-day event with the theme of Understanding Consumer Behavior brought nearly 200 industry executives from 115 professional beauty companies from across the United States together to learn about future forces, experience presentations from leading digital experts, and gain access to unique salon haircare data.

“The consumer journey has evolved at a swift pace, which is why PBA packed this year’s Executive Summit with thought-provoking information about what that means for the beauty industry, and how beauty businesses and professionals need to approach, think and respond to it in order to stay relevant. The Summit’s highly esteemed speakers covered trends based on data, the evolution of the consumer perspective and what actions to take so you’re not left behind,” said PBA Executive Director Steve Sleeper. “The response to this year’s event was amazing and leaves us eagerly anticipating starting the planning phases for next year’s event.”

Executive Summit speakers included:

  • Ken Hughes, Leading Consumer Shopper, Behaviouralist and Playologist
  • Claude de Jocas, Vice President of Beauty – L2
  • Carrie Mellage, Vice President, Consumer Products, Kline Group
  • Abigail Posner, Head of Strategic Planning, Google’s Creative Think Tank for Agencies and Brands
  • Steve Sleeper, Executive Director, Professional Beauty Association

The team explored some of the unique opportunities facing the beauty industry and armed attendees with information and resources on how best to leverage their brands, speak to today’s consumers and build solid relationships that will continue to grow.

Blue Dot Consumers
Hughes kicked off the event with a thought-provoking perspective on the next generation consumer, which he coined the “Blue Dot Consumer,” and the need to engage with them on a more authentic, individual approach. He noted: “If you’re doing the same thing you were doing five years ago, you’re in trouble. We’re living in an age of disruption. As part of this disruption you need to treat the conversation with your customer like a conversation with a friend – authentic and genuine. Part of your success hinges on you understanding that you no longer own your brand, your customer does.”

Haircare Market Analysis
The Executive Summit continued with Mellage, who presented an overview about the salon haircare market and associated opportunities. The Kline Group has been working with PBA to create actionable market intelligence on the professional beauty industry while helping members identify trends, benchmark performance, evaluate competitive sectors and assists in the decision making process. Kline Pro is an industry tool based on hard data collected from millions of anonymous transactions.

Haircare, Color Benchmarking & Digital Performance
Armed with knowledge about the direction of the industry, de Jocas shared how to benchmark digital performance in the hair color and haircare industry. Specifically, she provided an overview of ways brands are working to maintain relevance in an increasingly splintered marketplace, walking attendees through L2’s Haircare & Color 2016 rankings, while highlighting the disruption that digital is having on the professional beauty industry.

Cracking Creativity
Posner guided the attendees through a lively discussion on how creativity is a business imperative.  She discussed the importance of getting to the “why” and how the “why” can help you understand what motivates people. This understanding creates links, allowing you to turn the why into an idea. Posner urged the attendees to understand that creativity, collaborating with others not like yourself, and thinking emotionally is what is changing the world.

PBA Strategic Plan
The event culminated with a presentation by Sleeper, who shared an overview of PBA’s highly anticipated 2020 strategic plan. Sleeper zeroed in on PBA’s new strategy to grow PBA’s membership with front-line salon/spa professionals by 150,000 e-members over the next five years. Attendees were walked through the six pillars of the plan: Membership Growth, Government Advocacy, Industry Trade Shows and Events, Education, Industry Research and Industry Reputation.

“As an industry, we’re the healthiest when our salons and individual licensed professionals are thriving. When we strengthen the salon environment, we strengthen and support our manufacturers and distributors,” said Sleeper. “An increase in the number of beauty professionals actively involved with PBA means an increase in influence for the industry among all our stakeholders, including consumers, policymakers and other industry supporters.”

Sleeper also provided the group with an overview of the work being done by the Future of the Beauty Industry Coalition (FBIC), which focuses on creating consistent cosmetology curriculum hours for licensing and developing a national test for licensure, license reciprocity, and continuing education. For more information on the FBIC please visit:

Looking Ahead to 2017
The 2017 Executive Summit will take place Dec. 6-7, 2017.  To see 2016 PBA Executive Summit pictures, please visit Highlights of the event are accessible on social media by searching for #PBAEXECS.

About Professional Beauty Association
The Professional Beauty Association is the largest and most inclusive trade organization representing the entire beauty industry. PBA exists to elevate, unify and serve the beauty industry and the professionals that improve people’s lives.

Formed by the merger of the Beauty and Barber Supply Institute (BBSI), American Beauty Association (ABA), The Salon Association (TSA), and the National Cosmetology Association (NCA), the Professional Beauty Association is the only organization to represent the entire beauty industry. Representing nearly 2,000 beauty-centric businesses, and more than 25,000 individuals, PBA members include manufacturers, distributors, salons, spas, schools, independent practitioners, students and industry suppliers.

In addition to advocacy, PBA provides its members with opportunities to save money on events and education, and access to industry research and resources. Committed to the long-term success of the stylist and the businesses that employ and support them, PBA is focused on enhancing the professionalism of the industry and committed to helping members achieve personal and professional excellence.

For more information on membership levels and dues please visit: