Gillette? Why Innovation May Not Be Enough

5573 Words23 Pages
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,
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The History of Innovation at Gillette
Born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin in 1855, King Camp Gillette learned from an early age the importance of self-sufficiency, innovation, and invention. After his family’s home was destroyed in the Chicago Fire of 1871, Gillette left home at 16 years of age to become a traveling salesman. His experiences in his position led him to William Painter, the inventor of the disposable Crown Cork bottle cap, who assured him that a successful invention was one that was purchased over and over again by a satisfied customer. In 1895, after several years of considering and rejecting possible inventions, Gillette suddenly had a brilliant idea while shaving one morning. It was an entirely new razor and blade that flashed in his mind—a razor with a safe, inexpensive, and disposable blade. According to reports, Gillette’s idea wasn’t immediately successful, as technical experts said it would be impossible to produce steel that was hard, thin, and inexpensive enough for commercial development of the disposable razor blade. However, in 1901, with the technical partnership of MIT graduate William Nickerson, Gillette produced the original Gillette safety razor and blade,
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