Describe at least one of each, sociocultural, personal, and psychological influences on consumer behavior that are discussed in the following article. Dude, Pass the Exfoliator Marketers...

Describe at least one of each, sociocultural, personal, and psychological influences on consumer behavior that are discussed in the following article.

Dude, Pass the Exfoliator

Marketers Find What Makes Men Buy Eye Cream; Start By Labeling It 'For Men'

By ELIZABETH HOLMES

Matt Anderson was hanging out at a L'Occitane store in Washington, D.C., one afternoon, waiting for a friend's wife to finish shopping, when a saleswoman gently suggested his face and shaved head would benefit from some moisturizer.

Mr. Anderson, a 37-year-old with a beard who manages a team of international disaster-response volunteers for the American Red Cross, had never used a facial skin-care product before, much less one from Provence. But "on a lark," he says, he bought the Verdon Energy Face Moisturizer and soon found he liked it enough to use it twice a day.

Retailers and brands capitalize on men's growing interest in grooming products. Elizabeth Holmes on Lunch Break looks at how a new generation of men are defying the Neanderthal stereotype and paying attention to skin and hair. Photo: Duane Reade.

Perhaps there was a time when moisturizing wasn't "macho," Mr. Anderson says. "If anything went beyond Old Spice, or if it got too poofy, you would kind of be laughed at. Now, there are so many products."

Men's grooming has gone mainstream. Male skin care is one of the beauty industry's fastest-growing sectors, with more men adopting a grooming regimen, alongside exercise and eating right, as a component of healthy living.

Many more men are shopping for themselves, compared with a decade ago when women made most of their purchases. Studies show men now buy as much as half of male-grooming and other types of consumer products.

"We have really noticed a transformational difference in the role that men play," says Rob Candelino, vice president of skin cleansing U.S. at Unilever, whose brands include Dove, Vaseline and Axe.

Setting Men at Ease

Retailers are creating shopping spaces meant to put men at ease. Nordstrom recently moved the men's grooming counter inside the men's furnishings area. Drugstore chains such as CVSCVSG.LN=3.03% and Duane Reade have tested male-dedicated sections.

Macy's M =1.16% in downtown Philadelphia has recently opened a "men's grooming zone" on the beauty selling floor, with a flat-screen TV, free wireless Internet and a Keurig coffee maker.

It is "almost a men's skin-care man cave," says Muriel Gonzalez, executive vice president for cosmetics, fragrances and shoes. A similar space is planned for a Macy's in San Francisco in June.

 Elmer Clarke, counter manager in the 'men's grooming zone' at Macy's in Philadelphia. Retailers use open displays to encourage male shoppers to pick up and handle skin-care products and even test them out.Ryan Collerd for The Wall Street Journal

Male shoppers like to see the words "for men" on labels, says Anthony Sosnick, founder of Anthony Brands Inc. But male-female product differences go deeper than packaging. Male skin-care formulas tend to be lighter and absorb faster than women's, because men's skin is oilier.

And price points tend to be lower. The Anthony Logistics for Men line has a vitamin C facial serum in stores like Sephora, where one ounce costs $42. "If we were to price it like a women's serum, which would be maybe $80 to $100, most of our customers probably would not buy it," Mr. Sosnick says. Price may be one reason the product has female fans.

Whether it's baby boomers hoping to overcome signs of aging or millenials who grew up spritzing Axe body spray, there's a wider spectrum of men buying grooming products than there once was.

 Photos: Looking Good, Guy

 Drugstore chain Duane Reade is experimenting with dedicated display space for men's grooming products, away from the traditional beauty aisles. Duane Reade

"It isn't taboo anymore for men to want to take care of themselves," says Cheri Keating, a groomer and member of the advisory board for Estée Lauder's Lab Series Skincare for Men. The brand recently introduced a brightening eye balm with a 'metallic cooling applicator' ($28) and a tinted moisturizer ($38.50).

Grooming and skin care is long established among gay consumers. For example, Thomas Ellington, a 31-year-old who lives in Boston and works in socially responsible investing, says he began using an anti-aging cream in his early 20s. Friends told him, "Just start using it now. You're going to regret it if you don't."

Now more heterosexual men are catching on. "Straight friends of mine, I run into them in Sephora and Kiehl's," says Sean Kaplan, a 32-year-old Philadelphia real-estate broker.

 Tinted moisturizer ($38.50, Lab Series) is on the next frontier—products with color. Lab Series

About one in four men uses some sort of facial skin-care product, whether it is facial wash, moisturizer, lip balm or eye cream, according to market research firm NPD Group. U.S. department-store sales in the male skin-care sector, which includes body lotion and hair products, reached $84.7 million last year, up about 13% from the prior year, NPD says. Compared with sales of women's skin care, which are north of $2 billion, there's still room to grow, says Karen Grant, senior global industry analyst at NPD.

The shave—a universal and uniquely male need—is the focal point of most grooming routines. To lure men to the next level, brands position new products before and after, such as the pre-shave cleanse or scrub, or after-shave lotion. Kiehl's "Ultimate Man" skin-care routine gives clear, simple instructions in its marketing materials: "1. Cleanse," "2. Shave," and "3. Moisturize."

Now, men are experimenting with more-specific products, like anti-aging serum and eye cream. "The conversation with men has changed," says Chris Salgardo, president of Kiehl's, a L'Oréal division. Whereas a male shopper once might have asked about shaving cream, now he is likely to say, "I'm almost 40 and I don't like these lines around my eyes," Mr. Salgardo says, estimating about a third of Kiehl's shoppers are men.

 Lab Series Skincare for Men added a 'metallic cooling applicator'— think touching a cold soda can—to its $28 eye balm. Lab Series

Cleansing and moisturizing are all well and good, but do men who shave every day really need to exfoliate? Men's grooming marketers say emphatically yes. Dragging a razor across un-exfoliated skin will push dead skin into pores, causing red bumps and irritation.

 Jack Black Beard Lube, a $10.50 shave cream and conditioner, uses a font reminiscent of the script on a cigar label. Jack Black

Certain milestones seem to make a man open to changing his grooming routine, says Magnus Jonsson, director of marketing for Beiersdorf Inc., whose brands include Nivea and Eucerin. The first is when he enters the workforce and "steps into a more mature man's life," says Mr. Jonsson. The next is often marriage or cohabitation.

 Kiehl's UV Guard, $34, is part of its masculine-sounding Facial Fuel line. Kiehl's

Later, it's the appearance of gray hairs that tends to make a man reassess his grooming habits. Should he get divorced and re-enter the dating scene, he'll assess again, Mr. Jonsson said.

Most men have a female "influencer," often his girlfriend or wife, who introduces him to more sophisticated grooming products, says Unilever's Mr. Candelino. "Then once he's in, he starts to pay attention to things."

Men usually are looking for products to solve specific problems, such as dry skin or oily skin, says Jenny Belknap, vice president for global skin-care marketing at Clinique, a brand at Estée Lauder. But they are wary of beauty-industry claims. "You're not going to pull the wool over their eyes," she says. "They're going to try it for themselves and make that determination."

For its Anti-Fatigue Cooling Eye Gel, Clinique opted for a tongue-in-cheek message. "Rough night? No one will ever know," the website description reads. "Combats puffiness, dark circles. Absorbs quickly."

When Curran Dandurand and Emily Dalton created the Jack Black skin-care line, the two women opted for cobalt-blue packaging and a script font, meant to resemble cigar and liquor packaging. The name is meant to sound familiar—like a buddy a man would grab a beer with (and no relation to the actor).

The two chose mostly plastic containers, and they decided against an outer cardboard carton for most products, to encourage men to pick products up in their hands. Ms. Dalton says, "We wanted to grant him permission, in a way, like, 'Hey, this is for you.' 

 

Asked on by meyou4114

1 Answer | Add Yours

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The article features different examples of the factors that influence consumer behavior.  Psychological factors that influence consumer behavior refer to "concepts such as motivation and personality, such as perception,learning, values and beliefs."  These factors strike at an individual's self- identity.  They help to influence the way a person is and the person they wish to be.  Products that speak to this aspect of both present self and a conditional, more hopeful vision of self creates a type of need that creates a psychological desire for the product.  The behavior of the individual in relation to the product is where the psychological condition emerges.  An example from the article where a psychological factor is seen is when Chris Salgardo speaks of a new conversation emerging within the male demographic in the purchase of skin care products:

Now, men are experimenting with more-specific products, like anti-aging serum and eye cream. "The conversation with men has changed," says Chris Salgardo, president of Kiehl's, a L'Oréal division. Whereas a male shopper once might have asked about shaving cream, now he is likely to say, "I'm almost 40 and I don't like these lines around my eyes," Mr. Salgardo says, estimating about a third of Kiehl's shoppers are men.

The psychological factor is evident in how Salgardo asserts that male consumers in skin products look at themselves, at a specific part of their physical identity, and seek to change it.  "I'm almost 40 and I don't like these lines around my eyes" reflects a psychological factor because the product is asserting a means through which values about self can change.  The psychology of aging, that approaching a particular age requires combatting it, is what influences consumer behavior.  No longer would men have to automatically admit that the conditions of age, for example,  have to exist.  The psychological appeal of these products is that they are able to offer a vision to men of what they can be, as opposed to simply accepting what they are.

Sociocultural influences reflect relationships with other people.  How individuals are perceived both by others and how this impacts the self- perception becomes a significant factor when assessing socio- cultural influences.  At the same time, the influence that "the other" in the form of society exerts on a person is of vital importance.  The product has to resonate with the consumer on this level, as well.  An example of this in the reading can be seen in the establishment of a "man- cave" as a way of delivery of skin- care products:

Macy's M =1.16% in downtown Philadelphia has recently opened a "men's grooming zone" on the beauty selling floor, with a flat-screen TV, free wireless Internet and a Keurig coffee maker.

It is "almost a men's skin-care man cave," says Muriel Gonzalez, executive vice president for cosmetics, fragrances and shoes. A similar space is planned for a Macy's in San Francisco in June.

Making the sociocultural association between cosmetics and a "men's skin- care man cave" is an essential way of ensuring the product resonates on a cultural level.  Men can look at one another using skin- care products and feel that it speaks to a larger condition of being in the world. The product placement on this level is essential to broadening its appeal.

Personal factors are aspects that connect to an individual at their particular stage of life.  Personal factors can include age, temperament or job.  These factors have to be reflected in the product, which must directly speak to a personal aspect of self.  When the product is able to burrow itself within the consumer on a personal level, it resonates and becomes inseparable.  Companies see to make products that speak to people on a personal level for while socio- cultural factors are important, in the final analysis, the consumer is their own person.  They are their own individual and products that seem more personalized in this regard will end up becoming more revered by the consumer.  An example of this seen in the exposition of the article:

Matt Anderson was hanging out at a L'Occitane store in Washington, D.C., one afternoon, waiting for a friend's wife to finish shopping, when a saleswoman gently suggested his face and shaved head would benefit from some moisturizer.

Mr. Anderson, a 37-year-old with a beard who manages a team of international disaster-response volunteers for the American Red Cross, had never used a facial skin-care product before, much less one from Provence. But "on a lark," he says, he bought the Verdon Energy Face Moisturizer and soon found he liked it enough to use it twice a day.

Mr. Anderson's connection to the product is forged by his personal circumstances.  His beard and shaved head made him a prime candidate for a moisturizer.  After his initial purchase, "he liked it enough to use it twice a day."  This is a personal factor that influences consumer behavior.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,946 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question