The well-groomed man

Dirk Ziems

Animalism was yesterday. Modern man is subject to significantly higher standards for his appearance – which opens up interesting approaches for marketing male cosmetics. For many years, the spirit of the times and cultural psychology have been marked by increased demands on the individual. Professional, daily and private life are affected by greater mobility and a general increase in pace. There is an ongoing need to be constantly flexible.

All this impacts the self image and the external effect, which people (and particularly men) want to achieve today. Keeping up, staying fit, feeling “forever young” – all these are desirable goals. In an initiative study, concept m is currently investigating the effects of cultural psychological trends on men and the body care and cosmetic products available to them. A central finding: the images men have had to date of body care and cosmetics have continued to change. Up to 15-20 years ago, many men dissociated themselves from feminine body care and cosmetic images. Being male came with permission to be a bit more old-fashioned. Body care and cleanliness were naturally obligatory, but male cosmetics were limited to masculine fragrances. Today, men can express their type in a range of icons – they have a broad choice, from the prominent type, nature man, rocker, dandy or nerd, through to the metrosexual. Independently of the large number of style models that exist in parallel today, demands on men to maintain a well-groomed appearance have significantly increased. Tolerance of poor grooming is declining sharply. No man wants to be seen/smelt without deodorant or with unbrushed teeth. Products for men are accordingly significantly more diverse and widely distributed. There are dozens of brands and care series in every pharmacy.

Diversity of motivations in male cosmetics

Within the framework of men’s cleaning and hygiene rituals, a wide range of goals for use have established themselves. Basically, these can be divided into conserving, relativising and rejuvenating products. Conserving products lure customers with the claim to firmly hold back the aging process. Care products with a relativising approach counter the inevitable development with a wink – the user shows that he accepts his age and at the same time takes pride in his body. The third category offers products which promise to turn back the clock. These are closest to the segment of women’s cosmetics.

Brands target the specific motives of men, their requirements for care and male style models and the cultural psychological backgrounds. For example, a brand like Clarins focuses on the desire for particular purity, while Biotherm (which, incidentally, has been offering male cosmetics since 1985) relies on the natural origin of its ingredients, differentiating itself from the “artificial nature” of cosmetics for the other gender. Yet another approach is taken by the brand L’Oreal men expert, whose products play with the aura of a car workshop, promising as it were the “Machine Man”, with self-optimisation.

Thanks to its years of expertise in the bodycare product market, concept m has the expertise needed to determine which claims dominate in which target groups, and what communicative strategies should be used to address these adequately. The initiative study on male cosmetics is due to be completed shortly, and if you would like more information on this, contact rochus.winkler@test.local


Dirk Ziems
Dirk Ziems ist Experte für tiefenpsychologisches Marketing und berät auf Basis von Markt-, Medien- und Kulturforschung weltweit Unternehmen und Konzerne in zahlreichen Branchen und Ländern. Als Mitbegründer der Global Research Boutique Concept M und der Marketingberatung Flying Elephant begleitet er Themen wie die Adaption von Erfolgsprodukten in neuen kulturellen Kontexten, das tiefe Verständnis neuer Konsumgenerationen in China und USA, die Transformation der Werbekommunikation in der neuen digitalen Medienwelt oder die Neuorientierung der Brands in Post-Corona-Zeiten. Dirk Ziems ist auch als Gastdozent an verschiedenen Universitäten tätig.

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