1. Background Synopsis Gillette is a razor and blade company started in 1901 by King Camp Gillette and was at the time the only shaving company available to men and women. According to the book, “Gillette has long been known for innovation in both product development and marketing strategy” (Ferrell). The company was the first to invent the disposal razor and the first 5-bladed razor. The company has lasted through many trying times and has invented many of the products we use today.
The company has also had many successful and unsuccessful joint ventures and now is a part of the Proctor and Gamble company, which is a world-wide leader in many household products. 2. SWOT Analysis Strengths- I would say that a major strength for Gillette is that they have lasted through so many years and decades. The company has made it through a major economic drought (1920’s and 1930’s), a war (World War II), and has outlasted many of its competitors. Another strength I believe the company has it that it has teamed up with many different sporting franchises, the gaming industry, and alternative audience groups.
The Gillette company has teamed up with the MLB, NFL, NASCAR, MLS, and the NCAA. I believe that teaming up with the different sports, they reach a broader audience and they target more of the men’s population who participate or watch a sport. It appears that this was a strength in their marketing strategy by having a football stadium named after them and having promotional give-aways within the sports. This was also a great market strategy by reaching out to the international crowd with the MLS sponsorship.
The MLS is popular in other countries and according to the book, “60 percent of Gillette’s sales are generated outside of the United States” (Ferrell) . It was also a great marketing strategy to reach out to gamers, who represent a different target market. This would also appear to be the case with the alternative audience groups. I feel that with a strategy like this that the company is trying to reach out to many different demographics and expand their sales. Weakness- I feel that one of the weaknesses of the company is that they were mainly men based and that they could have targeted the women’s demographic a little better.
The company makes products for women but according to the book “1. 3 billion men worldwide shave with a razor blade and in addition to that 100 million women in the United States remove hair in some fashion. Of these women, 94 percent prefer to shave with a razor blade” (Ferrell). It would appear to me that the company could focus a little more on trying to sell products to the women’s population to increase sales. I would like to think that women have more to shave then men and that the company would make a bigger profit by advertising more to the women’s population nationally and worldwide.
I think another weakness of the company is that they are stuck on the innovation because after the 5-bladed razor where else can you go from there. They were the first company to come out with the 5-bladed razor and this was a strength but at the same time a weakness. It was a strength because they were the first but a weakness because now they have nowhere left to go with the design and innovation of the razor blades and the technology that goes behind it. Another weakness I found was the company was selling more razors but not enough of the replacement cartridges.
When looking at the statistics in the book for the price of the razors and the replacement cartridges it appears to be cheaper to buy the razors instead of the cartridges. I know that when you buy a razor it usually comes with the blade on it and two replacement cartridges. It usually sells for anywhere between $8-11 dollars and the replacement cartridges for a four pack sell anywhere from $ 10-14 dollars. When you look at it that way it seems that it would just be cheaper to buy the razor and uses the two cartridges in it and then just replace that when those are finished.
Another weakness I could think of is that the most replacement cartridges fit different kinds of blades so it is possible to buy the cheaper brand to fit your razor. The company could have made a special design to make sure that the cartridges only fit their razors. Opportunities- I do believe that this company has many opportunities that could increase their sales and profit. I believe one of the opportunities they could embrace is more advertising to the women’s products. Most women do the shopping in the family for household products and if they found a way
to target the women’s market, they could increase their sales. I think another opportunity the company should look into is finding a way to market to the younger crowd. I believe that if you can get the younger generation to invest in your product that it is quite possible that you could keep them a satisfied customer for years to come. The company could come up with creative ways to bring in the younger crowd. I do not know why this popped into my head but I think a great idea that might work is to make a razor that could download songs to so they have music to listen to why they shave.
It’s like the toothbrushes some companies make and it appears that the younger crowd likes them. I think another opportunity the company could use is instead of using just famous people in their ads they should make more ads with normal everyday people that would appeal to the general census. I think using customers of different ages, races, genders, sexualities, and nationalities would appeal to a worldwide crowd. I would like to think that using people that are more similar to the general population would make a bigger statement then using a famous person.
Threats- In any business there is possibility of so many different threats including competitors, market failure, bankruptcy, running out of ideas, etc. I think one of the threats to this company would be the running out of ideas. According to the book “Given that the wet—shaving market is mature, Gillette must depend on innovation to perpetuate its dominance (whether in product design or marketing), as well as create an appeal that entices customers to try and purchase its products” (Ferrell). It already appears that the company is in a rut even though they are still holding on to the top of the market shares.
Along with this threat, another one that comes to mind is if the company has no innovation strategy that competitors could have the possibility to come in from behind and swoop up the market with a better product. If another company can come up with the innovation and product design they could create a product that could outsell Gillette and the company sales would decrease. I think that another possible threat is that women can go to the salon and get their legs waxed so that they don’t have to use razors.
Another possible threat is the invention of the laser-hair removal systems and products like the no-no hair systems that are suppose to work on removing your hair painlessly and easy. 3. Identify the Underlying Problem or Issue I think that the underlying issue here is that the company is stuck in a rut. They are coming up short handed when it comes to innovation. They have reached the top of the razor game and have nowhere left to go. If they want to stay on top, they have to come up with an idea that would blow the rest of the competitors out of the water and keep them afloat.
The company will have to come up with an innovation that keeps up with technological advances and is something that would expand the razor market for the better. 4. Identify Several Alternative Solutions When thinking about alternative solutions to this case I honestly could not think of a solution that appealed to me. When a company has matured in a market like Gillette has and it is now part of one of the major companies in the world who already sells many common household products I really don’t think there is a solution to the problem.
I think that the company has stayed on the top by doing what it takes to be number one in the market. I also think that since the book even states, “By aligning that appeal with what customers value, Gillette has the potential to establish a position of long-term product maturity and market dominance. In that position, it won’t matter how many blades a competitor puts on a razor”(Ferrell) that the company will continue to stay on top of the market. 5. Choose One and Defend it This is going to be easy to defend since I didn’t have any alternative solutions.
I think that when a company has had the stamina to stay on top of the innovation curve for decades, make it through economic crisis’s ,a war, and several unsuccessful business ventures that if they come into a rut and still manage to stay on top of their game that they don’t necessarily have to invent anything else. It appears to me that even since the book mentioned that it didn’t matter what other companies did that Gillette had the potential to last a long time that the company is still doing something right. It reminds me of the saying “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. I believe that is how Gillette sees its self.