Gillette: Why Innovation May Not be enough
Q1: Since its founding at around 1901, Gillette has been at the forefront in the development of a strong brand within the wet shaving market. The company changed the way things were done in the industry by engaging in constant product evolution through innovation. From 1985 onwards, the company introduced a disposable and safer razor, the Gillette Safety Razor. This innovation was vital in strengthening the consumer confidence and product popularity. The success of this innovation developed the foundation of the company. After this, the company engaged in an aggressive acquisition campaign until 1962 when this strategy proved unsuccessful. Gillette changed their focus back to innovation by developing the cricket lighter, Soft, and Dry antiperspirant (Sternitzke 12). They also redesigned the razor and repackaged it as Gillette Track II Razor. Other additional innovations that set the company apart include the Disposable razor, the Atra Razor, and the Disposable Razor among other products. The company then progressed into personal care line of products including moisturizers, hairspray, shampoo and hair care. The technology of creating blades on small springs was responsible for creating the Mach3 line of products at around 1998 and later in 2011, the Fusion ProGlide. The company was however self-destructing by continuously innovating newer products.
Q2: Gillette has had a long-standing reputation of releasing high-end and effective shaving products. Consequently, it has the advantage of being a market leader with a larger market share. It has managed to stay ahead of the competition by investing heavily in the production of innovative technology as far as shaving equipment and accessories are concerned. The problem with their approach is that the customers focused excessively on acquiring new models that the sales of the earlier ones dropped (Sternitzke 45). For instance, the promotion of the Fusion ProGlide was met with a ready group of willing customers. However, this came at the expense of the previous products such as Mach3 that were sidelined. The decline in sales of the earlier models is a negative indicator that while they have a loyal customer base, their market domination is very weak. The shift in interest and sales volumes between two consecutive Gillette products is volatile and this presents itself as a threat to the company. This was the case throughout the introduction of Sensor, Atra, Trac II, and Mach3 (Byron 67). The competition between Gillette and Schick is both beneficial and detrimental. It is disadvantageous because this increased their investment and focus towards competition with the intention of releasing high quality products into the market.Gillette and Schick both came up with new products without much focus on the external environment and market conditions (Byron 78). From the consumer’s perspective, the aggressive competition was useful in generating a constant stream of new and enhanced products at an affordable price.
Q3. It is safe to say that Gillette
is already on the right track in terms of rectifying their situation. They should
continue developing complementary products that focus mostly on the sports sector.
This I because I think that they have a niche for the production of sporting
products and accessories. This will ensure that they continue remaining the
industrial leaders. Apart from this, I can also propose that they can diversify
within the shaving industry. Currently, the do shaving materials for men only.
However, they can also do products that cater to women needs. This growing
niche can be exploited further in ensuring the growth of the company.
Byron, Ellen. “Gillette’s latest innovation in razors: The 11-cent blade.” Wall Street Journal 1 (2010).
Sternitzke, Christian. “Interlocking Patent Rights and Value Appropriation: Insights From the Razor Industry.” IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management (2017).