Expert's Opinion

HBA for Wo(MEN)

By Kate Benson, Martens & Heads | July 6, 2011

Kate Benson of Martens & Heads explains what works in men's grooming.

Who is the Old Spice Guy? You know, the one who appeared in the wildly successful and slightly ridiculous campaign for Old Spice? The ad spot, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” featuring former NFL wide receiver Isaiah Mustafa, won agency Wieden + Kennedy an Emmy for Outstanding Commercial last year and just swept the One Show. So what does this mean to the HBA business?

While this commercial isn’t intended for everyone, it’s conclusive with at least one overarching theme: health and beauty products are no longer just for us girls. While this campaign is purposefully a bit outrageous, it has consumers talking about a stick of deodorant—one that has been around for quite a long time, as a lifestyle brand, which is the goal of every product manager on earth.

There is intense industry focus on male maintenance. Esquire, a leading men’s lifestyle magazine, features articles with titles such as, “Women We Love,” “Eat Like a Man,” and “The Best Bars in America,” set next to the style section, which encompasses articles like, “The Stylish Man’s Guide to Grooming,” “Esquire’s Guide to a Better Morning in Your Bathroom,” “Mustache Grooming Tips,” and “Five Ways to Start Going Bald…and Still Look Like Royalty.” Such features are increasingly in demand, as men want to learn how to groom themselves properly, in a way that is most fitting to their lifestyle.

In general, women buy more health and beauty products than the average male, and a good number of products for men are purchased by women (thank you Isaiah) for their men. However, don’t discount the male as a demographic that shouldn’t be carefully targeted. Men want to know what works, what doesn’t, and the best (what’s easiest) way to make it happen. There is a growing chorus of blogs, websites, widgets and publications specific to protocol and advice for men and their grooming habits.

The male’s day of beauty is at last at hand. To overlook this demographic, will be a huge misstep.

About the Author
A founding member of Martens & Heads! Kate brings over 15 years of industry experience and executive search expertise. She focuses on senior-level placements within the lifestyle practice and specializes in general management, sales, marketing, human resources and operations.Her clients include global iconic brands as well as entrepreneurial start ups.

Kate’s retail career began in store line management in the home furnishings industry.She then worked in Human Resources management at Yves Saint Laurent Parfums, where she gained valuable insight into the luxury end of fashion and beauty, internally and in the field.

She began cultivating her strategic eye for search at Rene Plessner Associates where she specialized in fashion and beauty. In 1997, Kate joined Herbert Mines Associates as a key member of the fashion and beauty team securing top-level placements for clients in the retail, luxury and consumer industries.

A native of New York, Kate earned her B.S. in Business Administration from Long Island University, C.W. Post. She later received her masters degree in Human Resource Management from the New York Institute of Technology.
Kate’s dual experience within brands and in executive search gives her a keen understanding of her clients’ needs as well as an unsurpassed knowledge of and access to industry talent.She is active in industry associations such as the Fashion Group International, Cosmetic Executive Women, and the Society for Human Resource Management.

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