Developing new products
A Gillette case study

Page 1: First mover: advantages and risks

The Gillette Company has a long history of being 'the first to market...' in its own areas of operation. Its achievements include producing the first successful:

  • safety razor 1901
  • twin bladed razor 1972
  • twin bladed disposable razor 1976
  • pivoting head razor 1979
  • pivoting head disposable razor 1980
  • razor designed specifically for women - Sensor 1992
  • triple blade razor - Mach 3 1998
  • battery powered razor - M3Power 2004.

As well as being first to market, Gillette has also continuously produced products which feature improvements to existing technologies, including 3 bladed disposables and ergonomically superior handle developments, including Sensor, Venus Divine and M3Power.

This timeline above also demonstrates how the speed of innovation has accelerated with shorter and shorter gaps between new introductions and superior products. Being 'the first to' can bring advantages known as 'first mover advantages'. These include being able to generate initial consumer interest via both media investment and accompanying press and PR coverage. This then leads to the main retail stores displaying the products in-store and supporting the products with powerful promotional campaigns.

For as long as products remain the only one of their kind available, the 'first mover' can establish loyalty and reputation in its brands before potential competitors get going or catch up. A Brand is thus created.

There are risks to being the innovator, however. To be successful, the innovation process has to be conducted thoroughly. This usually involves a great deal of research, and in more than one form.

As well as being first to market, Gillette has also continuously produced products which feature improvements to existing technologies, including 3 bladed disposables and ergonomically superior handle developments, including Sensor, Venus Divine and M3Power.

Gillette | Developing new products

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