Using more as a differentiator doesn’t always mean it’s better.
Sadly, I am old enough to remember when shaving companies went from two blade razors to three blades and told us quite openly at the time that it was necessary because “three blades are better than two”.
In their ads they showed us a graphic that illustrated how “the first blade lifts the whiskers, so the next blade can cut and the third blade can clean”.
I laughed at the time wondering when this would stop. If three blades are better than two – would that mean four blades are better than three, and so on?
Based on the original philosophy, what would the fourth blade do if the first three were so “properly engaged” in the process.
Of course, as we all know now, it didn’t end there.
In an industry where there is little discernible difference between the products – but an enormous competition for sales – technology and innovation appears to have taken over. “Those guys are beating us at selling four blades – let’s be the first to sell five blades!”
As additional blades were added, manufacturers were bold enough to raise the price of this product exponentially based entirely on the “improved customer experience” they were offering. As a result, in any grocery or pharmacy store you now have the ability to buy a wide range of razors that vary in price from .40 per razor to upwards of $5 per razor.
Well this month I tried my first SIX blade razor – more out of curiousity than consumer preference (and because they were seriously on sale at Costco!)
Was the experience better than I have with my traditional three blade? Absolutely not. It is in fact harder to get to all the nooks and crannies in the face with a blade that is so thick (I still had to use my 3 blade Bic disposable to cut around the nose and lips because it works better!)
And yet, companies keep adding these components, hoping we as consumer “buy-in to their reasoning”.
Is five really better than four blades?
Do I get a better shave with six blades?
Is the increased price worth the difference in results?
Of course not – but adding more helps companies reposition their product (we have more blades). And consumers continue to buy the fact that more blades makes a better shave.
So where does it stop? Inevitably we will need a seven blade razor because we already have six. Eventually the razor we are being sold is going to be larger than the face it is shaving – but hey, can they tell us at that point that it only takes one stroke to shave your face?
Sometimes our struggle to be different than the competition leads us to creating more – when “more” isn’t the best or the only answer.