Is it time for a new approach to men's grooming? (Will King Interview)

Will King, founder of King of Shaves, had plenty to say about the male market when I interviewed him live on twitter earlier this month. Not least why he hates the term “men’s grooming”. Here are some highlights (stick around for the end of the interview where Will gives his impression of the importance of social media):

Why do you hate the term “men’s grooming” so much?

It’s an “Eurrrrghhhh term”. You “groom” dogs {or horses} for example. It’s just such as naff description. Women “beautify”.

There is still to be developed a “beauty language” for men, that they A) can relate to and B) believe in, to grow the market.

If women beautify, what should men do?

Men look at ageing in a different way to women. Look at George Clooney. He’s not worried about “beautifying himself”.

Men are worried about things like maintaining their “ruggedness” without “beautifying”.So in 2003, a bit ahead of the curve, we launched XCD –Enhance, Camouflage, Defend {ready beautify, conceal, resist ageing}.

XCD was probably 10 years ahead of its time! But now L’Oreal and Nivea are in the men’s market, the opp exists.

Ah! Men’s cosmetics! What happened to XCD?

We launched XCD in Boots a year ahead of L’Oreal Men Expert –it was all about metrosexuality then {lol}.

We couldn’t get XCD sales above the £1m retail mark, and Boots gradually replaced its innovation with L’Oreal Men Expert

.I think I’ll bring it back though-we get a LOT of requests for it!What men ARE doing a lot more of nowadays is A) plastic surgery stuff, lipo and all that, and B) a bit of “MANicure” for nails.

How do you stay ahead of the curve? NPD, new ingredients, formulations?

I take inspiration form many many areas when we look at men’s skincare. From women’s, for sure, but also brands like Red Bull.

Caffeine…taurine…energy…simplicity of offer, result when drunk. Clever brand, Red Bull! Give your skin wings?We’re looking at a range right now for 2013 that I hope will feature an AWESOME skincare/repair #skinsurance tech –who knows?

The big issue in men’s skincare is that A) it’s dominated by Nivea, L’Oreal and P&G making new entrances hard due to spends.In early 2000, it was WAY easier to debut new onto the scene, but with the recession et all, much harder now.

What do you need to do to launch against the men’s grooming giants?

We talk about “skincare in shaving” with regard to our shaving products, and where skincare is concerned, use terms like:#Skinnovation #Skinvestment #Skinsurance {some of those are trademarked, by the way!!!}Had I known Gillette was worth $57bn and had a 80% world-wide market share of shaving, ooh er! But we innovated.We REPEATEDLY innovated in men’s shaving, skincare & more. Still do, but obviously involved in razors, blades now.

How has social media contributed to the growth of your business?

Ooooh, my fave subject. Social Media and Marketing aka #socmed #smarketing #skinsurance & #worldofmouse

Social media is HUGE to get men transforming the way they do stuff! Just look at the buzz around @DollarShaveClub for example.

It’s all about the #DigitalDialogue with men now {esp on men’s grooming} rather than #BrandBroadcast  to communicate stuff.

And responding to their questions re men’s grooming{eurrrgh} stuff and more.

If you’re not on #fb #twitter #pinterest #youtube and all that goes with it (all FREE remember) others will be.

- ends -

News Flash!

I'm at the In-Cosmetics show in Barcelona this week and as a bit of a bonus I thought I'd share a couple of Will's comments from the presentation he gave a couple of days ago. I'll be reporting back on the show as a whole on my return.

Walking round the show, Will observed that 99% of the imagery used by ingredient suppliers on their stands were aimed at women, yet men account for 50% of the population!"

Men are a huge untapped market, so I was disappointed to find so few products relevant to men.

"In his presentation, he said that a new language was needed to connect with men and that this could come from the internet. In his opinion, DollarShaveClub is the one to watch by making men want to buy razors from them:"

In 2 weeks, they created a 'herd' mentality of 4 million men that has yet to be achieved by the major toiletries companies seeking a dialogue with men."