India, the country of heroes! Heros, who value their culture, traditions, bravery and most important their mustaches. Indian men consider their mustaches as the symbol of manliness – so true.
From urban men to rural ones, from engineers to doctors to farmers – No men followed the fashion of clean shave in the 20th century. Gillette U.S.A. entered such country with the hazy vision of high profit in the year 1984 at Rajasthan.
For many decades, the company gained low profit and sales continued to be stagnant. Thanks not only to Indian men’s fashion but also to various other reasons which Gillette India decided to find out.
After observing no appreciable increase in profit and sales graph, Gillette planned to keep aside their global strategy and went in search of the local strategy for Indian markets.
Around 3000 Gillette employee spend their days with Indian men of a different region to understand their daily routine. A lot of others were interviewed to understand the basic mindset of Indian men when it comes to grooming.
After extensive research of 6 months, it was revealed that running water, no mirror, sitting on the floor while shaving, the concern of skin cut were few reasons for the stagnant pattern in the sale of the shaving system. Affordability and fashion being the most dominating ones.
Now the challenge for Gillette was to change the attitude of the Indians towards men’s grooming. For this, they innovatively used social media to launch “Shave India movement” in 2009 which includes several other initiatives.
Gillette created the platform ‘India Votes: to shave or not to shave’ to support this campaign, which asked three controversial questions: Are clean-shaven men more successful? Did the nation prefer clean-shaven celebrities? And the big one: do women prefer clean-shaven men?
For two months, various media channels picked up on the campaign and ran interviews, discussions, editorials and news stories, which triggered popular interest. This campaign supported stunt such as setting the world record for shaving.
In 2010 they smartly used figures by which men are most influenced – females. Gillette India sponsored “Women Against Lazy Stubble”, where women asked their men to shave and even celebrities condemned stubble. This word-to-mouth campaign was low on cost but raised market share and sales by 25% and 35% respectively.
They took care of the other market insight factor also. Gillette India launched low priced Gillette Guard razor, under umbrella brand P&G. Gillette Guard was of 15rs and each razor blade was of 5rs which was as low as one-third of the price of the premium product Gillette Vector.
Apart from changing fashion and pricing policy, they also changed the product features according to the Indian needs. P&G cut the number of components in the razor down to 4 from 25 and also small comb is provided by the blade since the Indian hair tends to be thicker. Apart from blades, handle are textured for easy grip and hole at the end for lighter weight and easy to hang.