At the end of this article I will present my first impressions of some RazoRock Shaving Soaps. I have never used them before, but first I want to talk to you about another semi-related topic.
Every few months I receive an email or IM's or comments on a video about shaving with my glasses on. Some people ask me if I ever shave without them and wouldn't it be easier with them out of the way. The simple fact of the matter is that my mirror is far enough away and my mid range eyesight is just bad enough that without my glasses I really can't see my face very well. Now when you get right down to it, I can shave without my glasses. I know my face well enough and my muscle memory is grooved enough that essentially I can shave blind folded and still do a decent job. I wear my glasses because I just do a better job when I can see my face.
Yet in another sense I always shave with my glasses off and without any extraneous filters getting in the way of the truth of the matter. The glasses that I'm referring to are the "rose colored" variety, the blinders, the filters, the points of view that has been polluted by other messages, opinions, advertising, pontificating, and just plain propaganda. I always attempt to approach my shaving experience in a straight forward and brutally honest fashion. Product producers and marketers probably don't like me very much because I present not only the good about their products but also all the blemishes and not so pleasant "odors" they may also allow to "slip" into the light of day. In our modern society the number and frequency of various "messages" we receive on a daily basis is actually quite staggering. We are never alone it seems and are continuously surrounded by radio, television, print and various other digital messages all the time. Our world is filled with sounds, messages, and cues that attempt to influence our thoughts, opinions and actions.
Scientific study has proven that we can be influenced by even the most subtle of stimulations. Temperature, vibrational frequencies, color and a barrage of other sensory stimulation causes our brains to respond in a specific and highly predictable manner. We can't help but respond to various stimulation...it happens often automatically and outside of our conscious reasoning or control. We are simply fooling ourselves when we claim that we aren't being unduly influenced by the scores of messages we soak up every day. It takes work to free oneself from outside irrational influences. We must shield and guard against those things that detract from reason and rational deductions.
Every SOTD (Shave Of The Day) we observe has an influence upon us. Who is delivering that message influences how we react to it. If we like and admire that person then whatever opinion they express is more "believable" to us...because we like that person we let our guard down and allow their "influence" through our defenses. But these over the transom type of SOTD messages must maintain a balance in order to effectively influence. Too many postings or comments or over the top presentations can dilute the message's impact. Not enough regular postings also detracts due to lack of familiarity. Do you listen to strangers or your friends? Do you pay attention to the poster who is always praising some product or producer? I know I don't. It doesn't ring true, is sickeningly too sweet, and presents the image in my mind of what we in Oklahoma and Southern Illinois called a "brown noser". It falls in line with the Shakespearean phrase "Me thinks he doth protest too much", but in the opposite direction. Too much praise negates all praise. Moderation in all things is the key to effective influence. Many Madison Avenue Madmen have forgotten the moderation admonition which is why some of the most effective advertisements many times makes fun or creates a humorous tone regarding the product being hawked.
During times of national crisis in days gone by resulted in the occasional "Presidential" talks to the nation. Franklin D. Roosevelt did his radio fire side chats but he didn't do them everyday. They were scattered out over time to maximize their total impact. In recent years the President has done a weekly radio broadcast commenting on topics of their own choice, yet instead of presenting honest thoughtful comments that present a balanced point of view they are merely party politics propaganda. That lack of balance makes the public simply turn off the message. How many people really listen to them anymore? Their regularity has diluted their impact. An address to the nation in times of crisis has a much greater impact due to the simple rarity of the situation and the gravity of the situation creates focus and draws the listener into it instead of away from it. Something is or has happened and the President talking about it on the television doesn't happen everyday, so it must be important.
Product marketers develop their stable of goods and services with the hopes of selling them. Anything that draws attention to their products, even if possibly negative attention is good attention according to standard marketing philosophy. A balanced familiarity sells products when the potential customer is drawn to the products. It doesn't matter how they get there, just so they get there and buy product. Yet in certain circumstances negative attention does result in negative consequences...although not usually. We have all been trained very well haven't we?
I have noticed recently a lot of "messages" about certain brands of shaving products. This attention sells product generally. This is a basic principle of advertising. Yet within a niche market such as Traditional Wet Shaving, marketers would be much better served if they more closely controlled their "messages". In general, familiarity breeds contempt even if on the surface the idea of "mingling" with potential customers sounds good, if that mingling is done in the wrong way or with the wrong individuals or groups, because the marketplace is small, any negative impressions will be strong and generally long lasting.
Marketers associating themselves with particular "supporters" or "followers" is a very tricky and dangerous thing. It could result in being "lent" that person's credibility and influence which can be very good, but if that person's credibility is hampered or tainted in any way, it could be a disaster. Nevertheless, many marketers are swayed by the loudly trumpeted praise and cannot effectively tune into the accompanying sour notes also being played. If I were marketing a product to a very small closed society (like traditional wet shaving) I would cringe when overly praised as well as when someone was dissatisfied. Too much super sweet messages can turn quickly into a bad taste in the consumer's mouth. Simple sincere balanced praise is fantastic. Praise that does not appear sincere is not praise but becomes a growing cancer that can become a fatal disease in the minds of many potential customers.
This is why I try to find both the good and the not so good in any product I review. Truth emerges within the context of honorable and truthful situations and people. A balanced opinion is far more effective than an over the top "love fest", which does not present as being fully honest and sincere. There are times I get carried away in the excitement of a discovery of a new good product too. Yet the occasional display of pumped up excitement is not as bad as a constant diet of it.
In our current marketplace there are so many good products it is hard to differentiate the good from the not so good and the above average and the excellent. Some of the older products and producers have gained a place of respect within the community because of their consistency over time as good performers. Those that have been around longer may also be riding on the coat tails of their early good performing products. In the intense light of the current marketplace, the excellent products of yesterday if introduced today would only be quite average. Every day it becomes harder and harder for a producer to remain in the mind and on the lips of the consuming public. Many consumers think being a product's cheerleader is a good thing but it often is not. Balance and a bit of suspense and mystery often leads to increased sales. Over exposure can be just as damaging as no exposure at all.
When the final chapter is written and the curtain closes on the stage of public opinion YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) wins every time and rules the day. No matter what someone else says about a particular product each individual has to run the experiments and calculate both the pluses and the minuses for their own personal use.
Having said that I now present my most recent shaving video where I talk about my first impressions of RazoRock Shaving Soaps. I will be talking about some products and giving you my impressions and thoughts. I will never lie to you about how I feel. I will never try to impress the products producers or marketers in the hopes of gaining favor with them...for whatever reason. Even though producers who are my friends deserve my honest opinions, both the good and the not so good ones. A friend is not a friend if that friendship is buffered by lies.