What’s Nivea’s secret sauce for grooming the men’s cosmetics market?

My first encounter with Nivea for Men products was over a decade ago, when I first discovered the brand’s after-shave balm while living in the UK.

The product was a godsend for guys me like who are prone to a bit of shave rash, and exuded an air of essential luxury. Contained in a classically stylish white glass bottle, the balm was soothing and had a hint of refreshing fragrance.

Using it made you feel both manly and well-groomed, and it has been a part of my shaving ritual ever since.

Over the years, as age slowly started taking its inevitable toll, I began to add the odd dollop of moisturiser and face cleaning products to my very limited cosmetic routine, and once again Nivea For Men turned out to be my brand of choice.

More recently, I switched to Nivea shaving cream, after years of using traditional brands like Gillette or Schick.

So I got thinking – what’s the secret to marketing a brand of cosmetics for men? How has Nivea snared me as such an avid customer – am I a fan-boy or just a very lazy shopper?

Truth be told, it’s probably a bit of both. I don’t tend to be a big brand follower, but once I find a product I like I tend to stick to it.

And yes – I am most certainly a lazy shopper! I may occasionally try something new because it’s on special or some bit of marketing appealed to me on some level, but in general I tend to stick to what I know.

And when, as is the case for many blokes, the household shopping duties tend to be performed by your other half (while you’re doing some kind of handy jobs around the house, of course!), it’s easy to just hand over an empty container and say: Just get me another one of these, please luv…

But to get to the stickiness point, the manufacturer had to get you hooked on their brand in the first instance. So how has Nivea achieved this?

I reckon it has been by appealing to the practical nature of their target market.

Nivea makes it pretty damn easy to figure out what each product does, how it works and how to use with this information clearly spelt out on the labels of most Nivea For Men products.

Three bold all-capitals headings read: WHAT DO YOU GET?, RESULTS & USE, with two to three bullet points under each.

What more does a guy need to know?

We don’t need to be told what herbs and natural extracts combine into a climatic crescendo of superlative adjectives that’ll make your skin tingle just reading the label.

Nivea’s marketing has also been well targeted. I cannot recall seeing any above the line advertising for Nivea For Men, but I have on several occasions seen, and received samples from, promo people on the street. In fact, this is exactly how I started using the shaving cream.

The challenge Nivea had when it launched the brand in 1998 was that it needed to convince men that it is not just brand for women. It has succeeded and has beaten off traditional men’s grooming brands to be a market leader in this category and certainly dominates by bathroom cabinet…

What do you think? Which other brands have successfully expanded its range beyond its traditional base? What’s the secret to selling cosmetics to guys?


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