Harry’s Grooming, the US-based DTC shaving brand, has made inroads into the UK market by addressing issues around British masculinity in the 21st century.

When Harry’s planned on entering the UK in 2017, its first overseas expansion outside the US, the first instinct at HQ was simply to follow the successful US marketing model, but the UK team thought otherwise.

While they didn’t doubt that that the clear and simple proposition would translate to the UK, “we were less clear about taking a pulse-check on the nation”, Matt Hiscock, managing director UK at Harry’s Grooming, told last week’s Festival of Marketing.

And, he added, while US consumers tend to be quite positive about something new, “British guys tend to be more cynical, especially toward brands”.

Survey research analysed by an expert in male mental health revealed that British men are broadly progressive and willing to take on non-traditional roles in the lives of those around them, while, at the same time, feeling the hangover of older notions of masculinity.

Hiscock boiled it down to the following: “Masculinity is expanding, not shifting.” (For more read WARC’s report: Harry’s Grooming sizes up the British man.)

Harry’s began to see a “disconnect between the way men feel and the way they’re marketed to” and resolved to “be the brand that reflected the way men were really feeling”, he explained.

That has covered quite a lot of ground, with a launch that joked about bearded Shoreditch hipsters, subversion of category convention with a tear-jerking film that examined masculinity through the eyes of an alien, and a sponsorship of mental health charity CALM.

“We’re seeing awareness and consideration growing quarter on quarter,” Hiscock reported.

In a continuation of the brand’s focus on the new masculinity, Harry’s has just launched an experimental bot, Harr-E, to see if men are more comfortable talking to an AI about their problems, since they are less likely than women to seek the advice of a GP, to see a counsellor, or to use helplines when in need.

Sourced from WARC