This case details the success of Gillette over the history of the company, from its inception in 1901 to the present day. The ups and downs that the company went through over the years and the obstacles it had to overcome to stay at the top of the market in not only the U. S. but worldwide. The company as a whole has faced new competition that sparked a battle that many still remember to this day. Innovative History In 1901, during its year of inception Gillette cornered the market for being the top product for shaving needs.
The low prices along with high quality were satisfying attributes that Gillette possessed (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). This success carried on into the early 1920’s. In the 1920’s Gillette had a large portion of the market and he had the following to say about his product, “There is no other article for individual use so universally known or widely distributed” (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). Gillette’s ability to be innovative throughout the years showed their agility and ability to adapt to any situation.
Even through the drought where many corporations did not make it out, Gillette was able to stand through the storm not only that but also World War II (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). It was not until 1962 that Gillette met with a company whose innovations proved to be a threat. Wilkinson Sword an English firm introduced the stainless-steel blade. At the time of the release of the stainless-steel blade Gillette was distracted by other ventures it had taken on lost its innovative lead in the market (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011).
Gillette saw a loss in its market share and was faced with a challenge in its hands to keep the majority market share. Even though they still controlled 70 percent of the market share the niche market did shift and left Gillette unaware of how to respond (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). The introduction of the Trac II razor gave Gillette just the boost it needed. Gillette once again dominated the market (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). With a new CEO came new innovations that kept Gillette at the top position. No longer in the introduction stage of marketing, wet-shaving is standing strong on the mature stage of marketing.
The wet-shaving experience is one that is more done by women than men. Men are shaving less due to religious, personal, or do not want to any longer (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). The new focus has been switched to women and their shaving habits and needs. In order to stay successful in the future with this market Gillette will need to continue its innovative ways to stay dominate (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). Gillette and Schick Battle The battle between Gillette and Schick brought new and innovative ideas to the market such as disposable razors and detachable razor heads.
The competitive nature of both companies seemed to bring for their best ideas. Gillette launched the Sensor razor in 1990 and quickly followed with Sensor Excel razor in 1993 after the success of the original razor soared (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). However neither razor reached the success that the Mach3 razor brought for Gillette. Continuing on this path Gillette expanded on its innovative ideas and introduced the Mach3 Turbo for men and Venus for women (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). In an attempt to take the attention off of Gillette, Schick introduced their new four-blade razor.
The Quattro brought forth the world’s first introduction to a four-blade razor (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). The launch was not without controversy as some of the wording used by Schick was in question by Gillette as the same used for their Mach3. A lawsuit was filed but nothing came of the lawsuit as Schick was able to continue with their launch (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). Gillette’s lawsuit against Schick sparked their own lawsuit against Gillette and upped the ante on the razor wars. Schick also introduced their Intuition for women razor that gave consumers more choices to choose from.
By each company attempting to one up the other they continue to create more innovative razors and bring consumers more options. Gillette attempted to garner consumer tastes to higher priced razors rather than the cheaper one’s on the market owned not only by Schick but Gillette as well (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). In another attempt to one up Schick, Gillette released the first five-blade razor on the market. This new innovative product gained much success fast and as quickly as the success came it began to fall.
Critics wondered why there was a need for five-blades especially with Gillette’s claims of the three-blade Mach3 being the best a man needs (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). With the slight hiccup experienced the Fusion continues to see success in the market. Five Year Recommendations Gillette can maintain their dominance over the market if they continue to be innovative. By staying on top of what their customers what and need Gillette can become the brand that consumers think of first when making purchases.
Customer-focused planning can ensure customer satisfaction with the product (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). Building a relationship with their customers and gaining their trust can in turn gain their customer loyalty in the long-term. It would also be in the best interest of Gillette to continue the competitive drive that has gotten them to where they are today. Innovations need to continue to be new and unique to keep the competitive edge (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). The one-upmanship that Gillette has engaged in over the years has helped their innovation process.
Conclusion Gillette is one of the most successful companies in its market. It has dominated the market for many years even with new competition entering into the market they have been able to keep their competitive edge. Their product the Fusion has gone through up and downs but today is their top selling product (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). It is no doubt that Gillette has the potential to establish its products in the maturity stage for the long-term and dominate the market for many years to come.
Ferrell, O., & Hartline, M. (2011). Marketing Strategy, Fifth Edition. Mason: South-Western Cengage Learning .