How personal care brands changed man's behaviour
Led by some very clever brand marketing strategies, the health and personal care consciousness of American men is on the increase, according to Kenneth Hirst of brand agency Hirst Pacific, who predicts a growing male skincare market and increased spending at the spa, particularly by aging baby boomers who want to keep their 'youthful vitality' as long as possible.
Once brands primarily catered to men's shaving needs but, in 2006 and beyond, Hirst believes the world will see unprecedented offerings in male skincare products, and far greater spending at the spa. Following the popular exercise trend, older men are also expected to seek youth in the form of anti-wrinkle and rejuvenating creams.
On the bandwagon Even the fragrance, fashion and medical professions have taken note, and are jumping on the bandwagon with holistic regimens to help men care about themselves - both internally and externally.
Initially, the bridge between men and the personal care category was built on product innovation and accented "brand masculinity". Pioneers such as Gillette made their brands resonate with men via technical devices, battery-stemmed razors and "holistic grooming" product families.
According to Hirst, "While a man might appear soft-skinned, smooth and toned from the neck up, he is buying into a broad range of wellness products. However, personal care for men should be understood from the male perspective; it is utilitarian rather than self-indulgent."
Branding and communication Effective product naming and communication both helps to encourage the otherwise reluctant man to buy into the pampering trend. Axe, from Unilever, and Old Spice Pure Sport Body Wash, from Procter & Gamble, are two successful brands which both skew toward the lifestyle aspirations of their targeted male consumers.
As Hirst explained, "A guy's desire to attract women is answered by 'The Axe Effect'. The active drench of a winning sportsman is neutralised by an 'Old Spice High Endurance' body wash. Through savvy marketing and packaging copy, brands are piercing the rough facades, and benefiting from both the aspirational and the softer side of men."
CPG is not alone Consumer packaged goods companies are not the only players in the new "marketing to men" game, Hirst noted. Wellness centres and spas also reflect an appreciation for today's rejuvenating male consumer. Subtleties in spa service communication, like "Gentleman's Manicure" and "Sports Massage" show that marketers are trying to bring the health and beauty category to the male market more than ever before.
Indeed, Hirst observed that men are increasingly finding spas to be personal care centres rather than just drop-off points for a "significant other". There is even a growing trend for men and women to enjoy the pleasure of the spa together.
However, marketers must still remember that men, in purchasing personal care products, experience greater comfort than women do when the products are instructional, practical and valuable.