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Manly Packaging

By: Sara Mason
Posted: February 21, 2014, from the March 2014 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The redesign also features a color slider to clearly differentiate the ranges and act as a marker on shelves for the variety of products and their purposes. “It’s colorful, simple, elegant and obvious,” Guillou notes. The color markers include the product name and important information about each product’s benefits, helping customers efficiently pick out the product they need. “The brand is now more visible, cleaner, more pure and more structured, [highlighting] its performance and technical aspects,” explains Guillou.

Keep It Comfortable

Men are loyal shoppers. But overcoming the hurdle to get the product into men’s hands requires research. Brands that don’t understand men and cater only to “caveman instincts” will likely miss out on a huge opportunity.

Launched in July 2010, Eufora Hero for Men’s sales have doubled year over year, excluding initial launch revenue. But it was a slow go in the beginning, as the brand worked within the salon professional market to embrace the opportunity that men provide for salon category growth. “We started with taking the time to really understand the male consumer—his specific hair, scalp and skin needs,” says Beth Bewley, co-founder of Eufora Hero. “And we worked with salons to identify ways they could adapt their traditional female salon environments to accommodate men and make them feel comfortable making a purchase there.”

The brand conducted market research on the men’s grooming segment and the changing attitudes of men toward personal care products and grooming. “In line with Eufora’s core principles and values, Hero delivers on what men find most important in their product purchases: ease of use, straightforward in their intended use, multi-use and the incorporation of cutting-edge science—all delivered in a masculine package,” says Bewley.

“Men want less bling and more functionality and sensibility,” Bewley continues. Thus, Hero’s color palette in shades of blue, green and maroon muted jewel tones are complemented by gunmetal gray for a refined look that won’t turn men off. “We incorporated a little punch by utilizing the latest in printing trends with the use of matte-finished foil substrates,” Bewley notes. “The Hero packaging distinguished itself from other men’s retail brands as a sophisticated brand, one that commands confidence. Those who can afford a higher-quality product want the packaging to reflect that and will feel good about the purchase.”

Keep It Functional

Packaging is about positioning and first impression as well as function. Because men’s hands are typically larger than women’s, features that make them easy for men to handle are important, such as a wide surface area on the actuator and a matte finish that is easier to grip. They also should be designed to make products convenient to access and dispense.

EvolutionMan aims to help men simplify their routines with multipurpose products that are easy to use. The brand’s simple approach to functional packaging makes it very man-friendly. The wide ovals fit comfortably in men’s hands, yet can easily sit on the counter top or be thrown in a gym bag, and durability is an important feature because men tend to travel with their products.

EvolutionMan founder Marco Berardini chose oval tubes with flip caps because men’s grooming is often done in the shower. “The flip cap makes it convenient and quick to get the product out and then close when finished, and the oval shape makes it easy to store on even the thinnest of shelves, and even the lip of the bath,” he explains. The clean lines and minimal artwork also are discreet and modern.

The development of new male-oriented formulas, too, leads to an increase in demand for alternative dispensing technologies. Brand owners are increasingly finding performance, precision and protection provided by airless packaging solutions. L’Oréal’s Biotherm Homme Hydra Detox moisturizer, Unilever’s Williams Expert shaving gel, Lavera’s hydrating cream, Korres’ anti-wrinkle and firming eye cream, and Matas Eye Gel are a few of the recent retail launches using solutions from Mega Airless. The airless dispensers help protect formulas and extend shelf life. “Airless packaging delivers formula protection, precise dosing and is a little gadgety to appeal to the high performance-minded, gadget guy,” says Harry Blacklock, Mega Airless’ director of sales and marketing, North America. “Ergonomically, they feel right to a male end-user and encourage a grooming routine that can be followed every day.”

Brands in the men’s grooming category also are trying to add to the basic personal care building blocks with more products that provide benefits and a sense of “masculine indulgence.” “These flanker products are usually task-specific, and need to be distinguished with functional packaging [to become an] addition in a man’s typical routine,” says Blacklock.

Keep It On Trend

The fashion industry is continuously obsessed with vintage and so is pop culture. Inspired by traditions of gentlemen’s barbers, some men’s products are reminiscent of a time when men considered grooming a ritual rather than a chore [For more on this topic, read “Insights to Men’s Grooming."]. “It’s a kind of paradox because on one hand, we have a strong return to rituals,” says Brandimage’s Guillou. “On the other hand, men are more pragmatic. They expect specific and immediate results.”

The barbershop trend blends the masculine traditions of a long-standing industry with contemporary style, giving brands personality and value. An example of this in action is Badricks Skincare Inc., which launched in late 2013 from Matthew Dank and Seth Lombardi, who were looking to fill a niche for a product that would help men with beards have a softer facial hair and more hydrated skin.