Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2011

Clean Edge Razor: Splitting Hairs in Product Positioning

by John A. Quelch and Heather Beckham

Abstract

After three years of development, Paramount Health and Beauty Company is preparing to launch a new technologically advanced vibrating razor called Clean Edge. The innovative new design of Clean Edge provides superior performance by stimulating the hair follicles to lift the hair from the skin, allowing for a closer shave. The company has already decided to introduce Clean Edge into the men's market where it has a strong presence. Jackson Randall, the product manager for Clean Edge, struggles with how best to position the product for the launch. One strategy is to release Clean Edge as a "niche" product, targeting the high-end market of fastidious groomers looking for superior skin care products. Another strategy is to release the product into the highly competitive mainstream razor market where the product can be positioned as the most effective razor available. Randall meets internal resistance to the mainstream strategy from the product manager for the company's current, but aging, mainstream razor products and he must consider the effects of cannibalization in his plan. Randall must recommend an optimal strategy and provide supporting economic analysis of his decision--not just for Clean Edge, but for its effect on the entire company.

Keywords: leadership; project management; conflict management; Interdepartmental relations; product development; Organizational change; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Leadership; Conflict Management; Product Positioning; Marketing Strategy; Relationships; Product Development; Consumer Products Industry; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry;

Citation:

Quelch, John A., and Heather Beckham. "Clean Edge Razor: Splitting Hairs in Product Positioning." Harvard Business School Brief Case 114-249, January 2011.