How menswear marketing is doing it all wrong

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The whole point of the shopping experience is to choose something you like, take it home, and wear it wherever you want to wear it.

A man wears a suit, or a pair of jeans, or some type of leather jacket because the fabric, the fabric, the cut and the drape say something about him that cannot be expressed in language. Fashion is a multibillion dollar enterprise of substituting language for the essence and form of a person so that others can understand them for who they are.

But Chicago-based fashion expert Constance Dunn, author of Practical Glamor, says that something is missing in the modern man’s lexicon, mainly because his personal style language has been conceived and manipulated by the media and articulated in most cases by women, who feel more at home. comfortable being the Oracle of Delphi when it comes to what fashion means to a man.

“Men don’t really sit there and think about it,” Dunn said. “Women do it a lot more because they are socialized to do it. Men are generally very strategic. They are very good at strategy, but it is not at all an area in which they have put forward an identity. “

Men’s fashion identity crisis, she says, is not their fault. Instead, she blames flawed marketing.

“What you often see is that there is a male identity crisis. You see men with gray hair and they always wear Vans sneakers and long skate shorts. They keep that identity, ”says Dunn. “Couture ads are so far from reality for most men, there is no strong message. There is no middle of an attractive man wearing a set that is very easy to put together and accessible. This is what is missing in the media messages.

Read the rest of our interview.

Douglas Crets: What is a man’s self-analysis missing when shopping for luxury goods, lifestyle brands, and things he might need to accentuate his life?

Constance Dunn: Men haven’t been trained or socialized to be self-analytical when it comes to choosing the personal products that will serve them best. A man will rarely have a clear idea of ​​the undertones that flatter his particular combination of hair, skin and eyes, for example. Or knowing which figures visually optimize or correct their physique. Few men have carved a personal brand or given much thought to the specific characteristics of his clothes and attire that help him present his most attractive and authentic personality to the world.

There is a lot of indecision that surrounds most men when visiting a mall or department store, and it makes shopping for such items anything but a fun or satisfying affair.

Compare that with women, who are socialized early on to enjoy shopping for shoes, clothing, and grooming products. Shopping is often a social event where women not only bond with each other, but offer each other a functional role by providing feedback on what looks best. Likewise, magazines and TV shows provide a constant flow of information to women on what to wear and how to wear it.

What do men have? An occasional magazine blurb on how to tie a Windsor knot or tailor a costume like George Clooney. Almost nothing that is directly relevant or useful to the average person.

What role do marketing staff play in making it easier for men? What is making it difficult at the moment? Is it a problem not having the right information or not having enough choices?

There’s a lot to choose from when it comes to men’s clothing, footwear, and personal care products – and a dearth of practical information on how to select and use them.

Since most male consumers have a knowledge deficit in this area, they tend to shop by default, looking for items that they have “always worn” are “comfortable” or “look pretty cool, I guess. Assumed “. Therefore, there are far too many smart and worthy men who practically live in t-shirts, hoodies, sneakers and jeans. As a girl who likes a well dressed man, I think that’s a real shame.

Are men getting mixed signals in the media posts of men’s brands? Can they draw on external perceptions in the media to make strong choices in terms of personal style and branding?

No. The message of many male brands is clear: image. I understand the usefulness of such a message when it comes to a brand like Abercrombie & Fitch, which sells teenagers and young adult men access to the fantasy of being a skinny, muscular jawbone dude. square draped girls in bikinis.

When it comes to adult males, however, there needs to be more substance-based media messages from men’s brands. A little image, sizzle is fine, but I think men would appreciate the fog lifted, or at least cleared up a bit, when it comes to choosing their clothes and skincare products. The original Dockers messaging is a classic for a reason. The message got out clearly and quickly that here are these pants that will look and feel great, affordable, and worn by many other quite respectable men in your town.

Dove’s new line of personal care products for men, Men + Care, intelligently takes a substance-based approach. The slogan is “Be Good About Yourself” and the message contains simple personal care information and accessible, strong men.

What are the goals and objectives of the men who choose in this market?

Men want to buy quality items that will optimize their overall look, and at a fair price. It is that simple. There is much less fantasy involved in the care and style choices for men than for women. For most women, a handbag is not just a purse; it is the projection of a lifestyle.

There is also a growing desire in men to differentiate themselves from other men, albeit safely. A desire to reveal something unique about who they are in a world increasingly crammed with technology and walls. Additionally, these days it helps to use our presentation to hunt down who we really are, especially since we need to cognitively process more data than ever before.

What would you change about marketing men’s products to men?

Make marketing more substance-based and informative. Men want it, they can handle it, and they will benefit greatly from it. Call me a simpleton, but when you look the most attractive and authentic you can’t help but feel better and of course you perform better. Businesses that help men achieve this in their everyday lives profitably will reap many benefits.

I read recently that the Old Spice campaign was really targeting women who are friends of men, or girlfriends. Why do you think they were doing this, and what does it say about the branding strategies agencies choose to get men to buy things men need?

Old Spice wisely targets women because they offer great service to men who choose in this market: they reduce or eliminate indecision. Women do this either by helping with purchases or by making them directly. I had lunch today with a male friend, a single person who is a smart and successful professional also known to be quite adrift on the style front. Drooping khakis, tent-sized shirts, and sensitive scuffed shoes are the norm. He himself will tell you that he doesn’t know what to buy when he goes to clothing stores. Not knowing what to do, moreover, is not a welcome feeling for most men, hence their widespread lack of enthusiasm for shopping. Today he looked quite dapper, and in a perfectly fitted but comfortable manner. No surprise, it turns out that the bachelor has a new wife in his life. Judging by the volume of clothes and accessories she bought for him, and the care she took in selecting them, it’s serious business.

[Image: Flickr user Dmitry Valberg]


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