Colgate Case Study

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Assess Colgate-Palmolive’s Competitive Position:
Colgate-Palmolive is recognized as the global leader in household and personal care products. Prior to the 1990s, consumers were satisfied with toothbrushes that were aesthetically pleasing. As therapeutic toothbrush sales rose it became obvious that consumers were becoming increasingly concerned with their oral health, specifically their gums. As a result, the toothbrush industry experienced a massive arrival of worthy competitors and the formation of a niche or premium market. In order to gain an edge each competitor worked on developing new toothbrush technology and forming alliances with dental professionals, expanding advertising budgets and offering promotions that would capture a consumer’s attention.

Some of Colgate’s key competitors included Gillette, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor and Gamble, and Smithkline Beecham. Each of these companies owned products that appealed to consumers for various reasons and for an everyday purchase was relatively inexpensive. For example, Gillette’s toothbrush featured indicator bristles that signal the consumer when to change toothbrushes. In addition, in 1992, Gillette announced that it would restage its dental floss, roll out a new mouthwash, and possibly introduce specialty toothpaste in efforts to be the leader in the oral care category. On the other hand, Johnson & Johnson offered the reach design that cleans in hard to reach places. Crest Complete created the rippled bristle design that reaches between teeth like a dental tool. Finally, Smithkline Beecham offered a pressure sensitive, flexible neck linking brush that prevents gum irritation.

Compare Consumer Behavior for Toothbrushes and Toothpaste

The majority of consumers were not focused in detail on dental products although everyone faces the risk of gum disease and plaque buildup. Based on the research presented in the case, consumers of the baby boom generation have become increasingly concerned about...
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