Recently we posted a facebook ad proclaiming T&D as ‘Skincare for Contenders’ – instantly we received a challenging remark from a sheep farmer hailing from somewhere in New Zealand's Manawatu region – that simply said – ‘what!?’.
I’ll be honest, like most slightly negative feedback received on social media, it smarted, producing a reflex snap of defiant defence, which very nearly resulted in a poorly curated response. A couple of strong coffees and a deep breath allowed for a little perspective. Usually that would have been the end of it, a simple walk on with no damage done.
But when it comes to building a brand when someone does not get what you are trying to communicate, then you have not done a good enough job of communicating it – and that rankled. So we have not been able to move on. Instead, we want to explain what we mean by ‘Skincare for Contenders’ in such a way that everyone, including farmers from the Manawatu, get it. They still may not like it, or even agree with it, but at least they might understand where we are coming from, which is our goal here.
T&D has been around as a skincare and grooming business since 2011. During that time the men’s focused skincare category has gone through immense change – mostly for the better. But what has not changed is the challenge of trying to gain cut through with males who don’t see the need to discuss their latest eye serum with friends or coworkers.
So why Contenders?
We wanted a visual identity for our skincare, a consumer set we could focus more vividly on. We are all athletes of one kind or another here at T&D. So, expressing ourselves in these terms felt natural. When we considered who ‘our people’ might be, we felt the most authentic answer was ‘people like us’. Competitors who push things a little more and go a little further in pursuit of their athletic endeavour, fitness, health, life - these are the people we refer to as Contenders. Not winners or losers, but those athletes who get that it’s the chasing of the title that is the real payoff for effort spent (the journey not the destination).
No athlete can win all the time, even the greatest champions don’t, and they all understand this. Sometimes average joes can beat the greatest, elevating themselves for a moment from Contender to champ. Being a Contender is something that is in our hands and under our own control. It’s about effort, preparation, commitment, discipline and motivation. Champ is a moment in time.
And just like putting in the work to be a Contender. The journey to understand your physical well being, your mental state and yes your skincare and grooming routine, requires a commitment that not everyone is willing to make. In building our brand, we have shamelessly stolen lines from wide and far, but one of our favourites is; ‘Many tread the path, few keep the way’. This reminds us that maintaining a discipline and commitment to things is hard won. Hard to begin and even harder to keep up. So, we want to celebrate these traits. We want to be the brand for people who are trying to improve themselves, in whatever way that is meaningful to them. Our broad brush to capture this idea is ‘Skincare for Contenders’. Anyone on that journey of self discovery and self-improvement in our view is a Contender and we want to be there on the journey with them … and that includes farmers from the Manawatu : ).