What “Mach” are we at now with Gillette? They keep adding
blades and go from MachX to MachX+1 every few months as if the physics of sound
doesn’t matter, isn’t it?
When Gillette launched its Vector razor in India, however,
things weren’t moving at such a high velocity. Gillette did some market
research before launching this razor. They found out that Indian men had longer
and thicker hair than Americans. So, they included a plastic piece that could
slide down in order to unclog the razor while shaving. Vector was launched but
didn’t do well.
Gillette did the market research, so what went wrong? Here’s
the catch – they didn’t do the market research in India! Gillette tested the
product with Indian Students in MIT and hence missed one crucial insight about
shaving habits in India. A large part of Indian men don’t have access to
running water while shaving, so unclogging the Vector razor isn’t possible.
Yeah, a rather face-palm moment for Gillette marketers, for sure.
The next time Gillette focussed on the Indian market, they
did things the right way. 20 people from their headquarters spent 3,000 hours
with more than 1,000 consumers in their homes. The result – Gillette Guard, one
of the bestsellers in India. It consisted of just a single blade, to deliver
safety rather than a smooth shave, focussing on what Indian men really needed. THAT is the power of doing market research the right way!