The King of Shaves Company, Ltd. is a toiletries company from the UK, based in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England, and an administrative centre in New York City. The King of Shaves brand was established in 1993 by Will King. The company demerged from Knowledge & Merchandising Inc. in 2009 and now employs approximately 20 people at its HQ in Beaconsfield. Originally producing shaving oil, the company at the moment has the following brands in its portfolio: King of Shaves -men shaving/skin care products; Queen Of… – women shaving/skin care products; Azor – system razors and blades; Kings 1965 – body and hair styling for men; King of Style -electrical grooming and styling razors for men.
The analysis in this case study will be done using aspects from the Porter’s Five Forces model analyse and trough determination of the generic strategy the company implements. King of Shaves is an example showing that with an innovative, saleable idea, hard-work, passion and perseverance one can create a prosperous company in an immensely competitive market.
In the last five years, men’s grooming has grown by 35%, and it transformed into a billion pound business. In line with the newest statistics, the UK shaving industry is worth approximately 800 million pounds. The market has enlarged by around 15% till 2011 (which is a projected drop of about 5% in real terms, not including the inflation ). Mintel estimates that this market will have an 8% growth in the period between 2011 and 2016 and eventually will achieve a value of £879 million. The main reason is because more and more men understand the importance and concentrate more on their personal look and appearance. The leading mechanism for market evolution has been a vital change in men’s approaches to the grooming procedure over the last years. The intensification in the attractiveness of the internet and the high-ranking sportsmen developing into ‘grooming’ idols, have made it tolerable for men to mind more about their look (Tungate, 2008). King of Shaves was founded in 1993 by Will King with initial capital of £15,000 (King, 2010). He says that he was trying to create a shaving gel that could make the shaving procedure more relaxed. Since then, the King of Shaves has become one of the most famous brands all over the world, not just in the UK , creating minor brands under the King of Shaves hat such as King’s body and hair care and Queen of. Today, this company has a matchless selection of products that face up to the front-runners in the men’s shaving market.
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Porter’s Five Forces model, its purpose and the business benefit
The Porter’s Five Forces model is an uncomplicated but an influential instrument for better estimating the business surroundings, the competitive force and the market desirability (Blenkhorn, Fleisher, 2005). The model is very beneficial, because it helps the company to recognize the strong point of its competitive situation at the moment, and the strong point of a position that the company is thinking about relocating into. With this model, which is an important part of the planning process, the company can make the most of a situation of strength, correct a situation of vulnerability, and avoid taking incorrect strides. Traditionally, the tool is used to recognize if new products or businesses have the prospective to be gainful. On the other hand, it can be very informative when used to comprehend the equilibrium of power in all sorts of situations. A business benefit from the Porter’s five forces model can be achieved by looking at the strength of the five important forces that affect competition (Porter, 2008). By considering the way how every single force has an impact on the company, and by identifying the direction of each force , the company can quickly assess the strength of its position and its capability to generate a lasting profit in the industry.
The power of suppliers to increase the prices of the inputs. Steel and plastic raw materials are two basic inputs needed for production of razors and blades. Different oils, aromas and other inputs are needed for the production of the various KoS products. Prices of the inputs are mostly determined on the stock markets, depending on production costs and demand all over the world.
The power of customers to bring down the prices. Over the years customers got used to paying high price for shaving products, mostly for the razors. KoS offers them quality products for low prices, working with lower margin than its competitors, but still being very profitable. Customers don’t have much power and influence over the prices, and it is not an issue, nor an important aspect of this industry.
The competitive rivalry in the industry. The industry itself, considering its dynamics, in past years was considered a very interested area to strive, survive and make growth in. In the case of KoS, company’s main rival is Gilette – a competitor with extremely profitable cash flows, and Schick Wilkinson Sword is second biggest player in the industry. After those two market leaders there was a gap, no number three, so the main competitors of KoS were those two dominant big companies and a lack of awareness. Smart strategy and good partners were essential for KoS growth, especially in the £400m-a-year UK wet razors and blades market, where Gillette has an appraised 80-85% portion. With R&D and marketing budgets many times overpassing KoS’s, its rivals have a competitive advantages in terms of being able to communicate more effectively and on the largest scale with its customers. Gillette’s advertising focuses on clarifying premium product benefits, KoS on the other hand focuses on low cost advertising mostly through social media. This is a way to build a unique relationship with its customers and fans, and to spread the word about the features of the products and the values the company incorporates in its doing business.
The threat of substitution where other products and services can be used instead of your own. KoS offers its customers manual (cartridge) razors, which is the leading shaving gear a man relies on considering the easiness to use them. Also trough the brand extensionKing of Style it offers electrical grooming razors. Dual edge razors are substitutes for KoS razors, but have features that don’t satisfy each aspect of men’s expectations when it comes to shaving. As of the other KoS brands, such as men and women shaving and skincare products, the substitution possibilities are higher, since there are many products with same or similar characteristics that offer the same benefit to the customers.
The threat of new entrants and the easiness with which new rivals can come into the market if they realize that the company is making respectable revenues. It took many years for KoS to become as successful as it is now. Being one of top 3 companies in this industry in markets such as UK and US means that KoS is a subject to constant attacks not only from the market leaders, but also from others who want a piece of the cake. Still, the threat of new entrants that will make a big impact in the industry is not substantial.
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Opportunities and Threats
King of Shaves has an opportunity to unveil new groundbreaking products to be more noticeable. Products can keep on improving, become even more comfortable to use and catch the fancy of new loyal shoppers. Even though the brand is international, there is a possibility to spread out even more. Arriving into the Asian market will provide an opportunity to attract new cultures and civilizations to the brand. The Japanese market would be ideal for King of shaves to enter in, as people ought to be well groomed because of cultural and social matters in this country. Also, The King of Shaves could provide additional gift boxes to appeal to the gift markets for holidays such as Valentine’s Day and Christmas. The brand could be more recognizable if the gifts are displayed in other, new locations and not just in the men’s shaving isle.
Some new changes in the tendencies and the culture in the UK possibly will become a threat to the King of Shaves. If facial hair turns out to be fashionable, product sales might fall, thanks to the modified shaving procedures . As the UK is turning into a multi-cultural nation, ethnic and spiritual causes can also have an effect on people’s grooming procedures. Many religions and cultures prohibit people to get rid of the facial hair. As a result, the King of Shaves will not be able to draw these customers to use their products. Another threat could be the technology itself. The technology is constantly improving and it has a large impact on the shaving industry, also. As products improve technologically, they immediately become more attractive. Therefore, competitors are continuously attempting to uncover a new product which customers have not seen earlier. The biggest rival of King of Shaves is Gilette.
King of Shaves’ strategy
Given all the features of the company, it can be concluded that King of Shaves follows the low cost generic strategy. The cost position gives the company a defence against rivalry from its biggest competitors. Its products are characterized with attractive features, quality ingredients and a simple design which eases the manufacture and usage process. Cost leadership entails belligerent building of efficient production facilities, vital cost reductions, implementation of procedures for control, the averting of marginal customer accounts, and cost reduction in business areas like R&D, sales and marketing (Porter, 2008a). There is a big difference in the prices of Gilette and King of Shaves razors and disposable cartridges, and King of shaves owner believes the low price and good quality can support his company in its determination to gain share in a market that’s been controlled by its huge rival for over a century.
Stakeholders are essential to the triumph of every single project in every single company. By involving the precise people in the precise way , the company can make a big transformation to its achievement. The stakeholders are the company’s employees, customers, associates, partners and the suppliers. The government also can be considered as a stakeholder through its regulations and agencies. The most important relationship that King of shaves tries to form is the one with the customers. These people may possibly be tough devotees of the working process – or they may obstruct it. The concept of stakeholder analysis can benefit King of Shaves in several different ways. For example, using the estimations of the most influential stakeholders to outline the company’s future projects will not only result in them supporting the company, their effort can actually increase the superiority of the new products offered (Weiss,2008). Getting encouragement from influential stakeholders can help King of Shaves win even more resources. By collaborating with the stakeholders regularly, they can fully understand the company’s future plans and the benefits- this means the stakeholders can and will support the company vigorously when needed.
King of Shaves is a brand that confronts all the other brands in the UK market, by continuously presenting new products and promoting tactics that seriously affect the market front-runners. They have an intense brand spirit that empowers them to do this, and by communicating straight to the clients, the company is upholding the brand trustworthiness.King of shaves attempts to accomplish this brand spirit in all the things they do.
Interaction with the loyal buyers in a welcoming and friendly way, that sets them aside from the usual corporate atmosphere is one of the things that the regulars are used to hear. On an emotional level, they offer an exceptional and exciting brand; their commercials are entertaining and each time modern with the most recent in sport and media. A bond with the brand is made on these features and the final result is the feeling of the buyers that they can link up to the brand. Functionally, King of Shaves has created their reputation on their innovative and technologically advanced products. Their gels like AlphaGel, SuperGel and SSE are designed to provide a calming, burn free shave, which at the same time is good for the skin. This means that consumers can find all their skin care requirements in one exceptional brand.
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