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A whole new man-scape

A whole new man-scape

Sales in men’s grooming products are expected to hit $85 billion, with men trimming, clipping and shaving more than ever before. Gulf Marketing Review meets the razor-sharp Philips’ exec who’s capitalizing on the ‘man-scaping’ trend.

January 28, 2010 2:51 by

This man-scaping malarkey is clearly a complex matter, and for Philips in part it involves an intricate program of new product development to meet extremely segmented, precise needs while simultaneously staying true to Philips’ corporate ethos of “sense and simplicity”.

By now I’m imagining the grooming equivalent of the Swiss Army knife as the only solution, and to an extent I’m not far off. Consumers, says Engelsman, want a flexible solution but not 10-12 attachments rattling around in their drawers.

“What we’ve decided to make is the best product in its category and we optimise where we can. Sometimes we do make a product with five-six attachments – a grooming kit – because that does a good job. If you want a fantastic haircut or a fantastic one-day stubble it won’t do the trick but it’s a good product at a reasonable price and it has the convenience of everything in one. So we develop a good product for the specialist and a reasonable product for someone who wants it all.”

This must be challenging, I suggest, because developing products that cater for every single function must surely be a nightmare for production, inventory management and SKUs – and fly in the face of the simplicity brand promise.

“Yes, our biggest challenge is indeed to segment to the max but for it to still be manageable.”

Not all the products, however, are relevant to every market, and territory managers order according to cultural mores. He tells me that in India, for example, a white collar worker still has to be clean shaven, whereas in Europe, professionals – particularly in design and other creative jobs – prefer to keep some facial hair.

Similarly, marketing communications are adapted to each market to reflect cultural nuances.

“You can’t have a global commercial. I don’t believe in that. You need to tweak it. It [the regional ad] will probably be based on the same insight but the ‘reason to believe’ might be slightly different, and you need to highlight that in your communications.”

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