Gillette Guard — Improving Life for Men Around the World

Friday, October 1, 2010 10:03 pm EDT

This week, we will make one of the most significant product introductions in Gillette's history. This product, called Gillette Guard, is the first razor we have ever designed from start to finish for consumers in emerging markets and brings to life our mission of serving more men, in more parts of the world more completely.

Even though we are the market leader in wet shaving, there are more than one billion men around the world who are not shaving with Gillette. Most of these men live in emerging markets like India and they shave with double-edge razors, technology King C. Gillette invented more than 100 years ago. These consumers have not been able to afford more advanced technology – even though shaving is very much an important part of this consumer's life.

About three years ago, we set out to make a difference in the lives of these men. A multifunctional team – and I mean every member of this team – travelled to India to experience the consumer's world, watch him shave, and hear him discuss his needs. For every member of the team, this experience was eye-opening. They watched these men shave with a double-edge razor without running water, sometimes outdoors, while balancing a hand held mirror – an experience laden with nicks, cuts and frustration. The team also learned that the typical drivers of our razor development process are different for these men. Our "developed market" mindset of "closeness and comfort" was less important to these consumers. What they valued most were safety, ease of use and affordability.

These rich consumer insights led us to do things dramatically differently than we have in the past. We changed the way we innovate – literally starting with a blank slate to ensure that every feature in this new razor met a critical need for our target consumer. We changed the way we manufacture – using over 80% fewer parts and a simplified process to ensure affordability for our consumer. We changed the way we go to retail – probing for deeper understanding of high frequency stores, and pushing to redefine the way razors are marketed in this channel to ensure visibility for our key consumer.

The result is a breakthrough razor that has the power to truly improve millions of lives, while realizing a tremendous business opportunity for our company as we expand our Grooming portfolio. In my mind, there is no better example that brings to life our purpose of touching and improving more men's lives, in more parts of the world more completely.

To learn more about Gillette Guard and the innovative approach behind it, read our innovation fact sheet here.