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When most people hear ―GILLETTE‖, one thing comes to mind—Razors.

That‘s to be expected, since


safety razors were invented by King C. Gillette in 1903, and the product in various forms has been the
core of the company‘s business ever since. Few firms have dominated an industry so completely and
for so long. Wet-razor shaving (as distinct from electric razors) is a $900 million market. Gillette‘s
share is 62 percent, with the remainder divided among SCHICK—15 per cent, BIC—11 percent,
WILKINSON sword—2 percent, and a number of private brands.
Gillette would like to achieve a similar position in the men‘s toiletries with a new line of products called
the GILLETTE Series. However, its record that market is spotty at best.

One Gillette success, Right Guard Deodorant, was market leader in the 1960‘s. Right Guard was one
of the first Aerosols, and it became a family product which was used both by men and women.
However, the product has not changed although the deodorant market has become fragmented with
the introduction of antiperspirants, various product forms and applicators, and many different scents.
As a result, Gillette slipped to third position in deodorant sales behind P & G and Colgate—Palmolive.
An even more embarrassing situation is Gillette‘s foamy shaving cream, a natural fit with the razor
business. S. C Johnson and Sons Edge Gel have supplanted that brand as the leading seller. These
experiences created frustration at Gillette. Despite its pre-eminence in razors and blades, the
company has been unable to sustain a leading position across the full range of toiletries.
Gillette is using its most recent success, the sensor razor, as a springboard for its new toiletries. The
Sensor story provides the background necessary to understand the marketing of the Gillette Series,
and also offers some insight into Gillette‘s marketing prowess.
Sensor- a high technology cartridge razor- was a gamble for Gillette because it ran counter to
consumers‘ buying preferences. Disposable razors, which were produced by the French firm BIC in
1974, had gained control in nearly 80 % of the razor market by 1990. Gillette‘s analysis showed that
disposables provide a worse shave than a cartridge blade, cost more to make than a blade and are
sold at a lower profit margin. Despite its disdain for the product, competitive pressure forced Gillette to
introduce its own disposable, Good News
As concern about the squeeze that disposables were putting on profit margins grew, Gillette began
looking for a way to displace them. The company spent $ 300 million to develop a technology to
significantly improve on the three attributes desired in shaving- closeness, comfort and safety. They
came up with the Sensor, a razor with independently moving twin blades. The Sensor produces a
superior shave, but it is also more expensive to produce than a disposable. So Gillette‘s gamble was
that a better shave would be enough to justify a premium price, and in the process, displace the
successful but not a very comfortable disposable razor. In addition to the R & D investment, Gillette
spent $ 110 in the first year to advertise Sensor. The strategy paid off. Estimated 1992 sales for the
brand was $ 390 million, and equally important, the share of the market held by the disposables has
gone down to 42%.
Gillette then moved to capitalize on the success of Sensor. The company had a line of toiletries in
development, and the decision was made to tie them closely to sensor. The line consists of 14 items:
1. two shaving gels for sensitive and regular skin
2. two shaving creams
3. two concentrated shaving gels
4. a clear gel anti- perspirant
5. a clear gel deodorant
6. an anti- perspiring stick
7. a deodorant stick
8. An after- shave gel
9. An after-shave lotion
10. An anti- perspiring aerosol and a deodorant body spray available only in Europe.

The products in the Gillette series were developed over a three year period at a cost of $ 75 million.
They were tested on 70000 consumers. An indication of their newness is the fact that Gillette has 20
patents pending with them. Consideration had been given to introducing the line in 1992, but the
introduction was cancelled by Gillette‘s CEO, Alfred Zeien. He insisted that the line not be launched
until consumer tests showed that each of the 14 products was preferred to the best- performing brand
in its category.
All the products have a common fragrance that Gillette calls Cool Wave. They come in silver and blue
packages like the Sensor, and the black lines on the packages match the grooved sides of the Sensor
Razor handle.
The items retail at $ 2.69 each, 10- 20 % higher than the prices of major competing items. As was the
case with Sensor, Gillette hopes that the products‘ innovation will convince men to switch brands and
pay the higher prices.
During the Gillette Series first year, the company spent $ 60 million on a joint advertising campaign
with Sensor. Just like Sensor, the line was to introduce in January with ads on the Super Bowl. The
campaign uses the same theme as Sensor. ― The Best a man can get‖. Initial TV commercials were
one minute in length. They started with 15 seconds on shaving gels, and cream, followed by 30
seconds on Sensor and 15 seconds on aftershaves. The deodorants are advertised separately.
The Gillette series faces two major problems:
 Convincing consumers that the line is actually better and the higher price justified will be more
difficult than with SENSOR. With the razor, Gillette had name recognition as the dominant firm in the
industry. In addition, the design differences the sensor were visible, and a consumer can directly
enjoy a closer shave. With the toiletries, Gillette does not have a strong position in the consumers‘
minds, nor are the benefits provided by the products obvious. Furthermore, the men‘s toiletries
market is extremely competitive. Powerful firms with proven marketing skills have taken a greater
interest un this category. P & G has acquired Old Spice and Noxzema; Colgate owns Mennen, and
Unilever purchased Brut. It‘s unlikely the rest of the firms in the market will sit back and ignore
Gillette‘s activity.
 Gillette is tying, the new product line to the Sensor but using a different brand name. If consumers
do not associate the Gillette Series with the innovativeness and success of Sensor, the new line
may just be another brand in an already cluttered market.
According to a Gillette Vice President, one of the most compelling aspects of the Gillette series is its
synergy with the company‘s core business—razors. If the new line is successful, Gillette anticipates
adding other men‘s grooming products such as hair sprays and shampoos. The firm‘s CEO, Zeien
says, ― we‘re already the worldwide leader in blades, Will we be the world leader in other (toiletries) or
not? That‘s our goal.‖
QUESTIONS:

Q.1. How is the Gillette Series being positioned with respect to (a) competitors, (b) the
target market, (c) the product class, (d) price and quality? What other positioning
possibilities are there?

a. Competitors: -

Premium to competition was given by Gillette to other competitors for positioning their
products.

1) It has given a good range of razors like Mach 3, Atra plus, twin blade, sensor excel, etc.

2) They not only limited their products to men but they also introduced a range of product in
Women line like Daisy (women shaver), women Shaving crème etc.

The two main competitors for Gillette in the toiletries business are:

P& G, especially by acquiring Old Spice and Noxzema

Old Spice is one of the top brands across world in the shaving products category. In the
shaving cream market it has a good hold over the perception of the consumers. It is
recognised by its fragrance and is seen as a macho brand. It is has products in all the three
categories (cream, gel and foam). Old Spice is also present in after shave market and it‘s
after shave product is very dominant in the market. It has a lot of products in the shaving
products market. This also makes the brand much stronger than its competitor.

Colgate-Palmolive, especially by owning Mennen

Colgate-Palmolive is one of the largest companies in the FMCG sector. The Company has
launched its International Palmolive Shave Gel and Palmolive Shave Foam in the in
response to growing consumer interest in skin conditioning benefits. The company's strategy
for Personal Care is to remain in top niches. Every year, they intend to take 3-4 initiatives.
Colpal has shaving products under the brand name Palmolive shaving cream. It has three
variants in the shaving cream/gel/foam category.
b. Target Market :-

Gillette has five major lines of business: blades and razors, toiletries and cosmetics,
stationery products, Braun appliances, and Oral-B dental products. Blades and razors
contributed over 60% of Gillette's profits through most of the 1970s and 1980s. This
performance let the company meet its stated goal of "sustained profitable growth."

This tradition of profitable growth was challenged when profits on blades and razors
faltered and the price of Gillette's stock stagnated. The diversification strategy that
distracted management's attention from blades and razors had diluted the valuable
Gillette brand name by associating it with non-shaving products.

The introduction of a line of men's toiletries (Gillette Series) that was years in
development represent a risky, perhaps final, attempt by Gillette to fix its flagging toiletries
operation. The trouble: Despite its pre-eminence in razors and blades, Gillette has had
difficulty persuading men to stock other Gillette goods in their medicine cabinets. In
part, that's because its offerings, including Right Guard deodorant and Foamy shaving
cream, have suffered from unfocused marketing and commodity pricing.

Gillette has put across its brand very elegantly in both Men and Women Segment. In men
Segment they have targeted each class right from Rich class to higher middle and lower
middle class. Apart from this they had kept a range of products for men like shaving gels for
sensitive and regular skin, clear gel deodorant etc. However, to beat the cut throat
competition in market they didn‘t limit their target market to Men. They introduced a Blue
Ocean. This is yet another aspect of Gillette's excellent brand management. In doing so,
they have created a huge new potential market for themselves - 50% of the population that
was out of bounds for them as long as they were dealing with men alone. True, the market is
nascent and a small chunk of their revenues; however the market itself has very few
branded players, and even they are scattered in numerous categories - epilators, hair
removal creams, etc. Considering that majority of women around the world (esp. the
developing countries) still rely on waxing for body hair removal, Gillette has rightly
recognized the potential in this market.

C. Price:

Gillette has priced its "Gillette Series" well above the industry average. The Perceived-value
pricing strategy suggests that Gillette is leveraging its customer loyalty (i.e. the consumers
who are brand loyal to Gillette razors). Gillette has been using Perceived-value pricing
strategy for its toiletries products based on the buyer's image of the product performance
(Gillette's quality perceived image), the channel deliverables and Gillette's reputation,
trustworthiness and esteem. This strategy has not been working well for Gillette in the
toiletries category as this segment's customers are price-sensitive because they are frequent
users of this category of items. Gillette has failed to convince the customer that it offers the
lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) so far. Value pricing strategy would be better for
Gillette because the toiletries is a highly price sensitive and low price stimulus market growth
industry. Its advantages is that production and distribution costs fall with accumulated
production and a low price discourages actual and potential competition, in addition to
maximising market share in this category. Value Pricing is aimed at winning loyal customers
by charging fairly low price for a high-quality offering. It isn't a matter of simply setting lower
prices; it's a matter of reengineering the Gillette's operations to become low-cost producer
without sacrificing quality - a strategy already adopted in the razor's category – to attract a
large number of value-conscious customers. Disadvantages would be the risk of getting
trapped in to either, low-quality trap, fragile-market-share trap or price-war trap. In addition,
Gillette has to be willing to make a commitment to have and be able to operate with lower
ratios of expense than everybody else.
d. Differentiated on functional attributes through innovation

Gillette has always been an industry innovator, with ample budget allocation for R & D.

 Consumer-driven innovation may sound obvious, but the latest technological


discoveries are often what drive innovation in many companies (including Gillette).
Yet technology-driven innovation is only successful if it fulfils an unmet
consumer need. So by starting with a clear understanding of what the consumer
desires and allowing that understanding to guide the search for innovation, the
company increases its chance for success.

 Yesterday's passive consumer is today's engaged consumer: A company should not


underestimate the importance of consumer-driven innovation in an environment
where healthcare consumers are better informed and more demanding.

e. What other positioning possibilities are there?

Market Positioning Possibilities for Gillette can be proposed in variety of products. It can
break into a range of products like

1) Shaving line

2) Deodorant line

3) Aftershave line

The shaving line can further be divided into the shaving cream and razor. In this scenario
there can be 3 distinct positioning that Gillette can take up in the consumers‘ minds. If Gillett
is one Brand, then the positioning should be the same as for the other series of men‘s
grooming products.

Apart from this, Gillette has always been on it toes when it comes to introducing latest
technology product and has thus reaped the benefits of being the first entrant in introducing
the new products.

There are many other positioning possibilities for a Brand. Gillette can position the various
products it has separately, or treat Gillette as a master Brand. If Gillett is one Brand, then the
positioning should be the same as for the other series of men‘s grooming products. However
if it breaks it into categories, then there is a shaving line, and then a deodorant line, and it
can get into an aftershave line as well, unless it wishes to keep it aligned with the shaving
category. In this scenario there can be 3 distinct positioning that Gillette can take up in the
consumers‘ minds.
Q. 2. Is Gillette making the best use of the brand equity that has been created with
Sensor?

Gillette's portfolio contains well established brands such as Gillette and Braun, Oral-B line
and Duracell. It eases the introduction of new products, as consumers are already well
acquainted with the names and more receptive to promises of improved user experiences.
The strength and quality image of these brands allows the company to charge higher prices
and achieve high margins.

The Gillette brand needs to be carefully managed so that its value doesn't depreciate.
Gillette brand equity can be reinforced by marketing actions that consistently convey the
meaning of the brand in terms of: what products does the brand represent, what are the core
benefits it supplies, how the brand makes the products superior, and which strong,
favourable and unique brand associations should exist in the consumers' mind. This requires
more innovation from Gillette and relevance throughout the marketing programme.
The advantages are maintaining the brand equity value and ultimately supporting all the
brand products. Disadvantages of this strategy are that Gillette has to maintain consistency
in amount and kind, recognising the trade-offs between activities that fortify the brand and
reinforce its meaning. Failure to reinforce at any point will diminish brand awareness and
weaken brand image.

Given that Gillett is attempting to make a name for itself and that Sensor has been its
biggest success, it makes sense to use the impetus of that to tie into the rest of its line. With
the razor, Gillette had name recognition as the dominant firm in the industry however the
design differences in the Sensor were visible, and a consumer could directly experience the
closer shave. The tagline of the best a man can get is a solid enough vague claim to make,
and own. Since the equity was established for the 'the best a man can get' and not just
Sensor, Gillette is making good use of this, since the Sensor can be seen as a product from
Gillette, and one that works very well, at least as per consumer response. Sensor's position
has proved easy to defend for much the same reason that the razor's launch was so
successful: the new strength of the Gillette brand name. Shaving-products were indeed
turning into a commodity market; but given Gillette's dominance of that market, the company
itself was more than a little to blame.

A Sensor may cost twice as much to use as a disposable razor but to many consumers, the
amount is small enough not to matter. Given half a chance, they will buy what they know, or
what they know to be best. Sensor was a giant hit because of Gillette's willingness to spend
heavily on its own brand name - and its ability to deliver a product good enough to live up to
it

Also, given that for men‘s grooming, shaving is tied into the process very intricately, it is a
logical next step to build onwards from shaving razor blade.
Q.3. What strategies do you propose to Gillette? Address the entire marketing mix.

Marketing Mix
Product

Gillette products are currently fulfilling only the core and basic needs to some extent. But
since the"Gillette Series" will target a new segment; it has to be very strong on attributes.
Again, additional features need to be there to satisfy the basic and expected needs of the
consumer. The "Series" should have superior fragrance and higher antiseptic attributes, in
connection with "Sensor". Further, initially, the product will be launched with variants. The
new Gillette Series would target the basic and core product consumers where Gillette has no
presence so far. So, the customer values promised and delivered would also be different
from that of the premium segment. The focus would be to 'Gillettifying' the product. This is
important because we have to reach a larger, price sensitive, not so loyal segment of the
market. So far, Gillette has only followed a dumping strategy with very little customisation.
For the "Gillette Series", this strategy would not work well.

Pricing

Value Pricing (Combination of high-low and everyday low pricing)

Value pricing strategy would be better for Gillette because the toiletries is a highly price
sensitive and low price stimulus market growth industry. Value Pricing is aimed at wining
loyal customers by charging fairly low price for a high-quality offering. It isn't a matter of
simply setting lower prices; it's a matter of reengineering the Gillette's operations to become
low-cost producer without sacrificing quality - a strategy already adopted in the razor's
category – to attract a large number of value-conscious customers.

Place (Distribution)

Hybrid Channels

Gillette's major channel is Wal-Mart, which acts as a threat by having a buyer's bargaining
power. By adopting a hybrid channel strategy and having direct-response Internet site,
virtual mall, and thousands of links and affiliated sites, Gillette can reduce this threat. Gillette
must make sure that these channels work well together and match each target customer's
preferred ways of doing things. Customers expect channel integration to have features such
as: the ability to order a product online and pick it up at a convenient retail location, the
ability to return an online-ordered product to a nearby retailer and the right to receive
discounts and promotional offers based on total online and off-line purchases.

Advertising and Promotion

The strategy of pitching men with a few extras while they're in the barber's chair is very old
but shows no sign of dying out. Gillette should launch "Gillette Series" with its first male
grooming collection by sending product samples to hair salons around the country. These
should come with a ‗complete with a detailed guide suggesting language, dress code and
marketing strategies design to make men feel more comfortable when reaching for Gillette
shampoo, gel or aftershave'.
Gillette is to rely on word of mouth and media coverage to attract customers.

Choose authentic male role models. There are signs that the brand is shifting its focus
away from technology and towards sponsorship. Celebrities and sports ambassadors of
Gillette should be fully integrated into "Gillette Series" brand programmes as they did with
"Sensor" and will be leveraged to the "Gillette Series" through multifaceted marketing
initiatives, including global print and broadcast advertising, consumer promotions, point-of-
sale materials, online and public relations in support of "Gillette Series" line.

Crucially, it should also depend on women. One of the surprising discoveries is that women
are the most influential source to men when it comes to buying toiletries. Sales could be
driven by gift vouchers, and most of those are bought by women for Father's Day or
birthdays (Never underestimate the influence of women).

Communicating Value Gillette should adopt a push and pull strategy to communicate the
abovementioned values. The ads would involve a sturdy, tough, smart man and project him
as theGillette man (much like the Marlboro man). The focus would be on the "Gillette
Series" though it will also co-advertise "Gillette Sensor".

Strategies proposed to Gillette:


Perhaps a more staggered approach would work better, from releasing the gels and after
shaves, and then moving onto deodorant, since you do not want to put too many different
variants out there. It takes time to build a powerful reason to believe in a product for a
consumer, and diluting the equity of sensor with too many different product types would be a
disaster.

A better strategy would be to first gauge not just consumer reaction to product quality, but to
gauge consumer understanding of the brand Gillette. If the Brand is best known for a smooth
comfortable shaving razor, then it would be advisable to first build on that equity further and
introduce more razors, and add in a shaving gel. Hence the products need to be staggered
out.

Secondly, to build on the Price, they have one premium product in the form of razors.
However there is still room to build a pyramid within Gillette's razors and add in a further
premium variant, as well as a discounted variant as well.

The Gels and Deodorants, when they come in should follow a similar strategy come in at a
similar premium of 110-120 and then build variants surrounding it. For example the Cool
Wave series can be positioned at a 130 premium to competition. A further more niche
variant can come in at a 150 index, and then a more standard variant series at a 100 index
as the discounted variant series.

Ownership of the category in the market is extremely important. The worst thing to do is to
not take advantage of proper Placement. Globally companies such as Procter and Gamble
as well as L'oreal have taken a space in the mind of the shopper through ownerships of
shelves in store. It is important for Gillett series to be placed in a premium place, next to
perhaps associated categories, and at eye level to most male consumers in the relevant age
group. Shop shelf decoration is also important to announce the premium position.

Finally, the promotional angle must not be discounted. It is the single biggest reason after
the Product itself, and is the right call for the consumers to initially think of trial. To achieve
this trial, the communication must incorporate the same tagline of Gillette sensor, i.e the
Best a man can get, and build on the equity that was created by Sensor. In this manner
using all the tools to cater further success.