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Reaching the Right Man: Make Your Packaging Work Overtime

By: Lisa Doyle
Posted: November 9, 2009, from the November 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.
  • Standing out visually from the women’s lines on the shelves isn’t enough.
  • When making brand decisions, men are looking for a full brand story.
  • Visually appealing packaging is a benefit for the brand story; when packaging is also functionally unique, it’s an added benefit for the end-user.
  • Changes to packaging should better help a brand reflect its point of difference. If changes add richness to a brand’s story, consumers will react positively.

Eye-catching graphics, a male-friendly color palette and distinctive insignia are all key to attracting men to a personal care product. But whether you’re looking to lure the Manhattan metrosexual or the Marlboro Man, it’s important that everything about your package, from its shape and size to its logo and label, tells your intended brand story. “Once you understand your demographic and its sensitivities, the designer’s job is to push those buttons,” says Ed Roach, a Learnington, Ontario, Canada-based corporate brand consultant. “A good designer is a communicator. Everything should work together to set the tone of the packaging and push those buttons to a sale.”

The Message

As with any men’s item on the market, a combination of both a product and package that deliver the goods will ultimately turn a man into a loyal customer. What should tie these attributes together, however, is the brand’s underlying message; this must be clearly defined before embarking on packaging design. “Understand the male you are targeting, and know what is important to him,” says Roach. “Add to this recipe a dose of testosterone and buddy sensitivities. The personality of the brand should be similar to how good friends treat each other.”

When Aveda wanted to branch out to a male-specific line, it turned to Duffy & Partners, a Minneapolis-based branding and design firm, and the result was the Aveda Men brand. “Aveda is a focused company and all about delivering the most efficacious, naturally derived product, and it realized that, while it did well with the male demographic, it had an opportunity to do even better,” says Tricia Davidson, principal and managing partner of Duffy & Partners. “There is a large and growing audience of men who are really taking more time and energy in terms of designing their lives. This is about the intersection of speaking to a male sensibility of fashion, and speaking to a sense of natural masculinity.”

There’s also a large segment of men who crave effortlessness in personal care, which the mass market covers exceptionally well. In June, Beiersdorf’s Nivea for Men line took convenience to the next level with the introduction of Active 3, a three-in-one shower agent combining shampoo, body wash and shave gel. “Active 3 delivers great results while addressing men’s desire for simplicity and time efficiency,” asserts Nicolas Maurer, vice president of marketing for Beiersdorf USA, Inc.