PZ Cussons Managing Director Sekar Ramamoorthy.

Local personal care products manufacturer, PZ Cussons, is diving deeper into Kenya’s emerging male grooming market with multi- sensory products that are designed to elevate its flagship Imperial Leather brand to pole position in the personal care category, estimated to be worth at least Ksh 5 billion in annual revenues.

Following a realisation that male consumers have increasingly become choosy and having understood the factors that inform their purchase decisions for personal care brands, PZ Cussons Managing Director Sekar Ramamoorthy said that the firm had established the importance of aesthetic design and the dominant role of fragrance in the new men’s range of products which come in a wide variety of fused, exotic, yet locally attractive scents, with a signature fragrance known ‘Ride the lightning’ leading the pack.

He explained that as part of its overall diversification strategy, the firm has rolled out a full range of Imperial Leather Men’s Range, featuring body lotions, antiperspirant roll-ons, deodorant sprays, bathing soap and shower foam.

PZ Cussons aims to fill an existing market gap of a staggering 10 million people split nearly equally in half for males and females respectively. The decision, he posited, emanated from a desire by the firm to provide quality, affordable home grown products to a population that is increasingly embracing the concept of personal grooming. “We are in an era of male consumers that appreciate the importance of good grooming and a society that has accepted male use of personal care products ,” said Ramamoorthy.

This expansion of its Imperial Leather product range, he said, is taking place against the backdrop of a highly successful consumer drive in which the firm invested Ksh 30 million to in a bid to capture the youth market.

“We have just concluded a highly successful major national consumer drive dubbed ‘Ng’ara na Imperial Leather in which Kenyans won millions of shillings in cash and holiday prizes over a period of three months. In the final draw we had two winners, one of whom is Joan Nywira, a student at the University of Eldoret, headed to a 5-day holiday to Dubai, while the second is Eliud Gakuya, a young man from Ruiru that took home Ksh 1 million, a spa treat and a night’s stay at a local hotel,” he said.

Ramamoorthy noted that preliminary tests of the new men’s range had revealed that Kenyan male consumers were yearning for exploratory scents and as master perfumers, PZ Cussons appreciated the importance of fragrances.

“Perfumes make people feel better. Nowhere is this more important than in the personal care products they use daily. Whether in a soap, shower foam or deodorant, fragrance is vital as it refreshes, soothes and reassures the user,” he added pointing out that ever since the 1700s, Imperial Leather has always pursued the addition of a little luxury to bathing, with the finest fragrances and creamiest lather as an important brand edge.

Whilst the original distinctive scents are still used in the iconic Imperial Leather bar soap today, PZ Cussons continues to innovate and develop new and even better formulations, formats and fragrances to help create extraordinary washing and bathing experiences for consumers across the globe in partnership with Sevens, an exclusive fragrance company based in UK which has been in operation for over 25 years. This only further reinforces PZ Cussons core-strength in perfumeries.

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“We are driven by our own incessant curiosity to research the relationship people have with scent due to East Africa’s unique climatic conditions. Much of our focus goes into ensuring that these products perform well, too,” said Ramamoorthy.

Researchers at global consumer research firm Euromonitor International expect that in 2018, the markets will continue on an upward trajectory, registering an annual rise in CAGRs of over 3%. PZ Cussons aims to grow its market share by at least 10 per cent this year with eyes firmly on the deodorants, body lotions and men’s grooming products.

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