Case Study 3: A Close Shave (Ethnography, User Generated Content, In-depth Interviewing, Photojournals)

The Client

A household name shaving brand.

The Challenge

When our client wanted to understand more about what a ‘close shave’ meant in the 21st Century we knew this was an opportunity to re-examine commonly held beliefs about men’s shaving. With an open brief focused on innovation, research and development, this presented a chance for a true synergy between ethnography and commercial research – approaching the subject with as few preconceptions as possible and learning from the ground up.

Our Solution

The mix of participants was key to the success of this study. When you think of men’s shaving products and the associated marketing, typical images of masculinity come to mind. This isn’t a true representation of the market in the 21st century – so we recruited a broad spectrum of people with one thing in common – the need for a very close shave. We spoke to people from very different backgrounds and with different needs for obtaining a close shave.

We visited people at their homes and learned about their attitudes, their hobbies, their jobs, their relationships, their consumer behaviours and perceptions of value – before moving on to talking about shaving and observing a live shave. We distilled this wealth of data into three key narratives and produced a film to deliver each.

The Result

Our client was left knowing not only how people use the razors and products, but why shaving forms an integral part of identity - both as a consumer and as an individual – and the role shaving plays in their daily habits and rituals.

This research allowed us to guide the brand on potential product innovation, advise around perceptions of value and test accepted truths about marketing shaving products.

The visual, intuitive format of the films meant the results also travelled further than traditional research. Initially designed for the R&D team, the films were ultimately shared across the organisation helping to unlock new inspiration and connect different departments in a new way with the lived experiences of their customers.