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Case Study: Attracting Male Consumers on a Global Level

By: Justin Bullock
Posted: April 2, 2013, from the June 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

Male consumers continue to be an enticing market segment for beauty brands, but products don’t always easily translate across global lines. However, some male-focused brands are using their base knowledge to develop new SKUs and lines with new opportunities in mind. The Dreadnought shaving brand, developed in the U.K. for a U.S. male audience, is one such brand.

Background Built

The Dreadnought brand is the brain child of British shaving retailer The Shaving Shack, which specializes in the niche—but expanding—double-edge community. The double-edge community consists of grooming products that include the classic style double-edge razors, cut throats, shaving brushes, shaving soaps and soap bowls—basically, items people might associate their grandfathers with using.

The Shaving Shack was set up in 2007 in Plymouth, Devon, England, and is one of the top online traditional shaving shops in Europe, selling luxury shaving brands as well as men's skin care and grooming products. Its customers are typically regarded as affluent males over the age of 25 who are savvy, informed men seeking a better shave that often find a double-edged blade gives them the best results.

Seeing an Opportunity

Over the years, The Shaving Shack has seen a steady rise of trade within the industry, which it put down to a number of factors. With the rise of male grooming, men are now looking to achieve a closer shave without succumbing to irritation, razor burn, bumps and ingrown hairs. Also, with the price of cartridge razors escalating, men are getting fed up with paying more and more for renewable blades.

Additionally, men’s salons and barber shops have also been rebuilding their popularity in recent years. It used to be that men had some areas of their life that were just for them and that was OK. These are places and opportunities for men to be, in a simple sense, men. Men need escapism just as much as women.

The Shaving Shack saw a gap in the market for a brand that didn’t offer the double-edge world as a tradition associated with how your grandfather used to shave, but as one that promotes a better quality shave and a cheaper alternative to cartridge razors. So capitalizing on an idea with old world feel but new world benefits, Dreadnought was born. Manufactured with pride in Great Britain exclusively for the men of the U.S., the Dreadnought range of male grooming products matches British craftsmanship and tradition with technology to meet the shaving needs of the modern American man.

Building a Relationship Across the Pond

Dreadnought was created for millions of men all over America who share a common problem—that tough stubble that seems to defy every shaving product and blunts the edge of the sharpest razor. Someone the Dreadnought brand refers to as a “Blue Beard.”

Dreadnought arrived in the U.S. in July 2012, with a strong legacy from its brother brand in the U.K., The Bluebeards Revenge. The brand owners, marketers and developers knew American man wanted a product that not only delivered and did what it said it would, but also something that would set itself apart and be something unique. Quintessentially British, Dreadnought was developed to reflect, foster and honor the special relationship between the two nations.

The U.S. and the U.K. share quite a bit of history, true, but they also have developed strong relationships through business, culture, language and even humor, which plays a critical role in making the a Britain-based grooming brand making a connection with U.S. men. The brand brings with it a cheeky British sense of humor, which can be seen all over its packaging and marketing materials. Also, The Dreadnought is originally a type of British navy ship, which maintains the nautical theme set by The Bluebeards Revenge.

The brand decided to maintain its British feel as Great Britain is well known for its sense of fashion. And with the likes of Christian Bale, Colin Firth, David Beckham and James Bond and top British designers including Burberry and Paul Smith as examples of such, touting British sophistication and style helps Dreadnought maintain its standing as a luxury, quality brand. Additionally, Great Britain also has a rich heritage of men’s barbershops and grooming brands, helping support the brand’s story in the shaving marketplace.

Made for Men

In its research of designing a men’s grooming brand, Dreadnought’s owners and developers also found that brands and retailers are urged to steer clear of overtly female-looking brands. Industry leaders, grooming experts, research panels and existing data on the men’s grooming market were monitored in the early stages of development to get a sense of what the men’s market was attracted to, and then the brand owners and developers moved on to looking at existing male grooming products on the market and considered elements such as language, font, color, the name and connotations attached to the name of the brand and its products.

Men traditionally like masculine or sporty brands such as Adidas and Hugo Boss and often will reject brands like Maybelline, Dior and the like, as they are regarded as “too feminine.” Dreadnought’s findings made branding, packaging and detailed retail channel research important to its future growth.

The color of product is important, and therefore the Dreadnought’s royal blue hue was chosen as the brand found men most often deem blues and blacks as a suitable color for male products. The Dreadnought branding of a Spartan helmet also depicts manliness and a sense of youthful fun—that, let’s face it, is found in every man, no matter what age.

Dreadnought believes that every man should take care of himself with the correct grooming tools at hand. But it differs distinctly from its competitors by adding humor to the brand via the packaging and website, including joke warnings about who the products are for and who should stay away.