Gillette’s “Masters of Style” commercial introducing Gillette’s Fusion ProGlide Styler has been receiving rave reviews. Enlisting actor-rapper André “3000” Benjamin of OutKast fame and actors Gael García Bernal and Adrien Brody, the world’s largest grooming brand has managed to impress quite a few women with the band of dashing brothers, and not to mention a few men.

The global communications director for Gillette, Damon Jones, who’s charged with engaging consumers talks about the new product and the business of communications, which includes the bond between product development and marketing. –yvette caslin

Tell us about your latest product, the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Styler.
It’s the first time that we’ve introduced a product for guys that have facial hair – a chin strap, goatee and full-on beards. Forty percent of the guys in the U.S. sports some type of facial hair and those numbers trend higher in African American and Hispanic communities. We want to make sure they have a quality, three-in-one tool that allows them to trim their beard accurately to achieve the precise line they want.

What is Gillette’s primary message to consumers?
There are two things. We want men to be deliberate in their grooming routine and how they make Gillette a part of their style. Many men spend a lot of time deciding what to wear, and how to wear it; they go into the gym because they want to put their best foot forward. And we want to communicate that how you take care of your skin is an important part of the routine. When you think about our complete look, from head to toe, you need to have the best product possible for your skin so you can present the best total package. We are here to meet those needs.

How are you inspired to develop such creative marketing campaigns?
For me, it’s spending time talking to guys and it’s not so much the traditional focus group research. We’ve done research where we sit down with guys informally and talk about what’s important. We go into their homes, watch them shave and discuss why they do what they do. Many times when you are talking to a guy about something that’s really important to him, he’ll listen carefully and that’s when you uncover deep, meaningful insight.  For me, the more time I can spend out with guys talking about what’s important is where the ideas spark, like at Bronner Bros. Hair Show. We believe product development and marketing are tied very closely together.

What are five basic principles for effective communication?
1. Know your consumer inside and out. Spend lots of time with your consumers. Nothing replaces firsthand contact with men or women. You really have to get to know them deeply, emotionally and the role that your product plays in their life.

2. Be honest about what you can offer them. Don’t over promise and be clear about your communication.

3. Talk to consumers where they are most receptive. For Gillette, we connect with guys when we are having guy conversations when they are watching sporting events. Understand the right time and place when consumers are receptive to your message.

4. Test and make sure what you think you are communicating is what you are communicating. That comes down to listening. You can have such a good idea and if you ask the consumer objectively, and not closed ended, you are likely to gain insight.

5. Don’t be afraid to adjust your message. Very few campaigns are static. The environment and competition is always changing. the world will be a very different place three to six months from now.