Gillette: Why Innovation May Not Be Enough

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Synopsis: Gillette has long been known for innovation in both product development and marketing strategy. In the highly competitive, but mature, razor and blade market, Gillette holds a commanding worldwide market share. The peak of its innovation occurred in 2006 with the introduction of the Fusion 5-bladed razor. Today, innovation in razors and blades is thwarted by a lack of new technology and increasing consumer reluctance to pay for the “latest and greatest” in shaving technology. Gillette must decide how to put the razor wars behind them and maintain or increase its share of the global razor market. Themes: Product leadership, product innovation, pricing strategy, integrated marketing communication, segmentation, competition, sports marketing, global marketing, strategic focus. Since its inception in 1901, Gillette has always prided itself on providing the best shaving care products for men and women. In fact, the company was so visionary that it didn’t have any serious competition until 1962, when Wilkinson Sword introduced its stainless steel blade. Since that time, the Wilkinson Sword-Schick Company has evolved into Gillette’s primary competitor. Through the years, Gillette has strived to stay on the cutting edge of shaving technology in a market that thrives on innovation. This focus led to a game of one-upsmanship with Schick as each company introduced 3-bladed (Gillette’s Mach3), 4-bladed (Schick’s Quattro), and 5-bladed (Gillette’s Fusion) razors in rapid succession. Now, under the ownership and guidance of Procter & Gamble, Gillette faces a saturated U.S. market that fluctuates only when newer, more innovative products are introduced. However, many analysts believe that Gillette and Schick have reached the end of truly meaningful product innovation. Given this, Gillette faces the challenge of further expanding its already dominant 66 percent

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