Steven Yde has seen a multitude of facial hair trends, from goatees to thick, full beards, come and go in his 16 years at Wahl Clipper. One thing hasn’t changed, though: the grooming company’s dedication to delivering on promises for its consumer base. SurveyMonkey has been an integral piece of Yde’s toolkit for meeting the needs of the company’s highly diverse customers.
Wahl Clipper, which invented the hair clipper in 1919, has spent over 100 years staying ahead of trends, learning what makes its customers tick, and engaging with them on a personal level. As Wahl Clipper’s consumer division vice president of marketing, Yde, his team, and their counterparts in the professional division, rely on SurveyMonkey in their daily, weekly and monthly work, including leveraging its ability to avoid panel fatigue and ensure quality responses. Yde also uses SurveyMonkey as part of his evolving brand dashboard, including conducting an annual “Vice President’s Survey” focused on brand awareness and perception.
“We send a ton of surveys through SurveyMonkey. When we need quick answers, I say ‘Let’s do a SurveyMonkey.’”
So when the world drastically changed in spring 2020 and Wahl Clipper’s customers put everyday activities—including visits to the barber—on abrupt hold, Yde and his team turned to their trusted and proven toolkit, including SurveyMonkey Market Research Solutions.
Delivering on promises in a challenging year
As it became clear that the pandemic was going to dramatically alter life, business, and consumer habits, the team at Wahl Clipper began tackling the challenge of understanding consumer sentiment around the globe. Wahl Clipper is sold in more than 150 countries, which made addressing a crisis in all markets concurrently daunting, especially considering the differing needs of different communities.
“One of the most important parts of our strategy is called One Wahl,” Yde said. “We’ve always been a very entrepreneurial business, but having everyone doing their own thing can mean inefficiencies. We address that by solidifying processes and certain tools, like SurveyMonkey, to keep that entrepreneurial spirit alongside better communication and cooperation across markets.”
In keeping with that One Wahl philosophy, Yde needed to understand not only which levers to pull to meet consumer needs but also how those needs differed across markets. The team also needed insight into how the overall business was being affected; ultimately, they needed both a macro and micro view. SurveyMonkey’s market research platform enabled Wahl Clipper to connect with consumers, shift to meet their needs, and continue delivering on promises through the pandemic.
Learning from six million new consumers
Wahl Clipper had been using SurveyMonkey’s professional services and market research solutions for years to quickly test product adjustments and ideas. Early in the spring of 2020, Yde’s team also began sending out pulse surveys across the more than 150 countries Wahl Clipper sells in to understand how people were feeling as a result of the pandemic. Fairly quickly, Wahl Clipper discovered a surge in new and potential customers who now had to cut their own hair at home—the consumer base had expanded by around six million, Yde said.
The team used SurveyMonkey to test packaging and product concepts with each target market. “It could be something as simple as a font choice, packaging, or two different products,” Yde said. “We use SurveyMonkey’s market research tools to get a quick gut feel for how our customers are responding.”
This approach to product marketing and pandemic response has helped Wahl Clipper remain nimble, flexible, and able to adjust details in real time. Results from their research can be easily shared with the internal teams that need them most, whether it be showing senior leaders how the economy is changing or highlighting common threads for consumer product teams working in different countries.
“SurveyMonkey helps us with product development and positioning,” Yde said. “We can look at results from other locations and ask if this is a truth we’re seeing globally or one that’s specific to this culture and country.”
Driving business decisions in a changed world
As Wahl Clipper’s consumer teams across the globe collaborated throughout 2020, they were able to adjust to trends on the fly. When men began growing out their beards and facial hair at the beginning of the pandemic, Wahl Clipper was able to tap into their need for manicuring and grooming. While this trend quickly fell off, Yde said another long-term one has appeared that will likely change Wahl Clipper’s business for years to come: self-service grooming.
“We’re seeing that around 30% of people who started cutting their own hair are not planning to go back to their hairstylist or barber,” he said. “This is a huge opportunity for our consumer division and an interesting challenge for our professional side that we’re exploring using SurveyMonkey.”
The insights the team continues to glean from SurveyMonkey will be used to drive business decisions in the future, Yde said. Each of its teams is charged with tracking brand awareness and preference locally, and SurveyMonkey helps facilitate that process, he added.
In the post-pandemic era, Wahl Clipper’s approach to market research and customer connection will help the company continue to adjust and deliver on promises along the way.
“The cool thing about using SurveyMonkey company wide is that we’re creating market research experts all over the world,” Yde said. “Even though I was the first user of it here, I learn something new about how we can tap into it further from others on the team all the time.”