Rock Face is a no-nonsense skincare brand that’s innovating its category by creating products that are specifically designed for men, by men. Despite operating in a market that’s largely skewed towards female buyers, Rock Face are making huge strides, and are tackling stigmas, each day, whilst growing the category.
Their products cater for the everyday man, and are affordable, effective and straightforward. No longer will men be intimidated by an 11-step beauty regime, Rock Face are simplifying the process, making it relevant and accessible to modern day men. Clearly, their strategy has worked, as Rock Face are now stocked everywhere, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Amazon.
In this exclusive interview, ProQuo’s Content Writer, Ruby Arenson, sits down with James Wilkinson, Rock Face’s new Head of Sales and Marketing and James Langdon, the new Head of Brand and Innovation at Rock Face to learn all about their strategies, purpose and ambitions for the brand.
ProQuo: We’d love to hear more about Rock Face. The brand’s making huge strides in the industry! I’d be interested to learn more about your core ambitions for the company.
JW: Of course! We’re both new to Rock Face but we come from a L’Oréal background. One of our biggest learnings from L’Oréal was that a lot of companies are still focused on female-led products. When it comes to creating products for men, they often replicate these versions and simply add a new pack design, rather than focusing on creating products that are specifically geared towards this audience. I find this incredibly alienating, and that’s why the ambitions of Rock Face resonate with me, as their products are created with men in mind. The company’s stats reflect this, as 62% of our products are bought by men, compared to the category, which stands at 50%.
JL: Our core goal for Rock Face is to build an emotional connection with our customers. We’re doing well with brand loyalty, but our brand equity needs more work. And that’s why ProQuo is such a perfect partner for us, as it provides an innovative always-on solution to test and track our performance in terms of brand equity and connection.
ProQuo: And could you also tell me what you think the biggest challenges are within this space?
JL: Growing the category is definitely one of our biggest challenges. Category penetration in skincare is currently around 50%, compared to deodorant which is up at 90%. This shows there’s still more education that needs to be done, to convince men of the importance of skincare.
To grow the category, we have to overcome 3 key barriers in the industry, as the market is currently overly complex, perceived as expensive, and not resonating with its audience. Rock Face provides solutions to all 3 of these. With us, there’s no 11-step beauty regime, we’re just providing 2-3 straightforward products that can easily fit into any daily routine. Our products are also not designed to break the bank, and each item is incredibly affordable. Lastly, we’re creating a product that’s specifically designed for the everyday man. You won’t see us using big celebrities to market our products. We want to keep our tactics as down to earth as possible to reflect our target audience.
ProQuo: And how do your marketing tactics reflect these challenges?
JW: So far, our marketing has been great at championing our brand message but has not built an empathetic or emotional connection with our customers. We’re about to execute a multi-faceted multi-media campaign to build on this pillar. The strategy for this campaign was informed through ProQuo's action-plans, which helped us to identify areas to focus on to reach our growth goals. Through its guidance, we discovered Communication was a key Lever we needed to act on, and that’s where our marketing strategy is centered around. We see ourselves as the one-stop-shop for mens personal care, not the specialist, so our messaging will reflect this, focusing on the 3 key challenges within the market, affordability, complexity and relatability.
JL: We’re at a really exciting point in history, where the question of ‘what it means to be a man’ is rapidly changing. Because of this, there’s a huge opportunity for brands to come in and pioneer this space.
ProQuo: That’s really exciting! And how would you say ProQuo has helped your team grow?
JL: ProQuo has helped us to understand on a deeper level what men really want from our category. Our category is incredibly rational, and we score highly on ProQuo across the rational Drivers, specifically Consistency and Accessibility. With ProQuo, we've been able to push the boat out and focus on the emotional Drivers, bringing our brand to life in the hearts of our consumers, so we can show what we stand for as a company and build on our customer relationships. Looking at ProQuo, we can see what we need to focus on in the future to bring the brand forward to achieve our goals.
ProQuo: I’d also love to know how you’ll be using ProQuo in the future?
JW: We’re currently in the process of using ProQuo to benchmark our third-party agencies, so we can make accurate data-driven decisions on the best groups to go for. There’s a real opportunity for Rock Face to grow with ProQuo through testing and optimizing assets, and we’re currently looking at CreativeLab to see how it can benefit the brand.
JL: When you’re a small business you need to be smart about where you’re putting your time and cash. Before ProQuo, we would not have been able to measure our marketing efforts but now we can easily pinpoint where our vision is taking us and see exactly what we need to do to get there. It’s an invaluable tool! We’ve both worked at innovation consultancies before, but with ProQuo it’s so different. We’ve now got a much deeper level of analysis, that allows us to test our hypotheses on competitors and tailor our narratives to retailers on an ongoing basis.