Well aware that young men typically start shaving with manual blades before moving on to using electric shavers, this world-leading electrical goods business wanted to develop a deeper understanding of the male grooming market. As the product range, quality and communications of manual shaving competitor brands became more sophisticated, the company was concerned that it may lose valuable market share, not only to other manufacturers of electric shavers but also to manufacturers of manual shaving products. It needed to find ways to cut through and disrupt the shopping behaviours of young men.
Using Further’s platform to create online research communities, the researchers invited young men and their partners to discuss their shaving habits, the products they use, their perceptions of various brands, their considerations when purchasing and using shaving products, the looks they like, and what partners like (or dislike) in terms of shaving, trimming and grooming. The design went well beyond standard ‘brand perceptions’ research. It combined diaries in which participants noted their grooming rituals and relevant advertising, marketing or editorial material (online and offline) they noticed over the week.
The online research community used a number of versatile methods, included shaving timelines, creative writing activities, group discussions around concerns and considerations, and reporting on discussions the young men were invited to have with their partners about their considerations and preferences.
The team found that the client could be confident that it is top-of-mind for electric shavers among young men and that their brand associations were almost exclusively positive. But the threat from manual shavers was very real.
However, by getting under the skin of these young men’s habits and considerations, and by understanding which parts of their body (not just their face) they groom, how and for whom (their partners), the researchers found ways in which the brand could begin to see off the competition from manufacturers of manual shaving products. They also uncovered a whole lexicon around ‘closeness’ and ‘touch’ to appeal both to young men and their partners.