Do you own a “speed and strength” named razor brand?
Today I finally ditched my “Turbo Charged Platinum Mach5” razor brand for something more modest – a set of disposable razors.
Well, partly to do with price. My ten disposable razors were a third of the price of eight premium blades. But also to do with purchasing – I no longer wanted to be “locked in” to buying blades.
The men’s manual razor market is an interesting one. The dominant brand is Procter & Gamble owned Gillette who have been very successful over the years with their razor and blades strategy.
This strategy typically involves selling the blade handle and one blade at a reasonable price. Customers are then locked in when it comes to buying new blades. These blades are produced by one manufacturer and are more expensive than disposable razors. Wilkinson Sword is another razor brand that adopts the razor and blades strategy.
Razor and blades brands typically have two notable characteristics. First, the blades are more expensive than disposable razors. Second, they often have “speed and strength” associated brand names. Examples include the Gillette “Turbo” “Mach3” “Mach3 Turbo” and “Fusion Power”. While Wilkinson Sword has the “Quattro Titanium” and “Quattro Titanium Precision” models within its product range. The process of “speed and strength” brand naming appears to have started in the 1940s and 50s with Gillette’s Superspeed models.
Why so many “speed” and “strength” named men’s razor brands? Stereotypically, words such as “speed” and “strength” are considered masculine traits. While the female version of Gillette’s Mach3 is named “Venus” and features line extensions such as “Divine” “Breeze” and “Embrace”. Interestingly, Mach3 blades can attach to a Venus handle and vice versa. A great way to cut down on the cost of shaving! But perhaps go against marketing intentions.
To be honest, the brand names adopted by Gillette and Wilkinson Sword do work well. Names such as “Mach3” and “Fusion Power” suggest high levels of performance. They are appropriate for products positioned at the premium end of the manual razor market. Furthermore, they are also ideal for line extensions. For example, from the “Mach3 Razor” to the “Mach3 Turbo Power Razor” and finally the “Mach3 Sensitive Power Razor”
Razor brands such as Gillette and Wilkinson Sword rely on the razor and blades model as a way of generating repeat buying. No doubt the marketing machine behind the razor and blades strategy means it’s likely to continue. We’re also unlikely to see the end of the tradition of “speed” and “strength” brand naming.
So, why bother with “Turbo Charged Super Mach5 Powered” razor brands? Yes, there may well be some difference in performance. But, will consumers get fed up with being locked in to buying expensive blades? Also, is it time to move on from stereotypical brand naming? Will we see a move towards unisex razors? I look forward to hearing your thoughts on razor brands in the section below.