Braun Ag: the Kf 40 Coffee Machine

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9-990-001 DESIGN MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE CASE STUDY Braun AG: The KF 40 Coffee Machine This case study came from the Case Study Research and Development Program at the Design Management Institute’s Center for Research. The Center conducts research and develops educational materials on the role of design and design management in business success. Case studies, the Design Management Journal, reprints from the Journal, and other educational materials are available from the Design Management Institute Press. Design Management Institute Press The Design Management Institute 29 Temple Place, 2nd Floor Boston, MA 02111-1350 USA Phone: 617-338-6380 Fax: 617-338-6570 Email: dmistaff@dmi.org Web site: www.dmi.org Harvard Business School Publishing…show more content…
“We’ll never bring out just a me-too product” echoed in every department. The Gillette Connection In 1967, the Braun brothers sold the company to an American consumer products giant, Gillette. The Gillette Company, well known for its mass-produced, mass-marketed products like razors, blades, and toiletries, hardly seemed the company to become the parent of an elite-class German firm. But Gillette was no stranger to Europe, having marketed its goods on the continent and in Britain since the turn of the twentieth century. It now saw the Braun acquisition as an opportunity to cover the dry end of the shaving business, as well as to extend its influence upward. Braun, for its part, had by 1967 grown to over 5,700 employees and operated in 144 countries, but it was too small to compete with the multinationals. Its management saw Gillette as a source of funding to enable them to do so. Shortly afterwards, Braun moved its headquarters from Frankfurt to Kronberg, a few kilometers away. For the first several years, Gillette left Braun’s product strategy intact while infusing some of its management expertise into the organization. Very few people knew that this German company par excellence had an American owner. Braun expanded its operations in other countries and began to extend its target markets beyond the opinion leaders it had originally cultivated. Braun’s Spanish operations were a case in point.

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