The story of fox and porcupine refers back to a poem in Archaic period by Archilochus who has written: “Fox knows many things, but porcupine knows one bigger thing”. Fox is a quick and tricky animal which tries many different ways to hunt porcupine. Every day, it hangs around the porcupine’s den, looking for a golden opportunity to hunt it. On the other hand, porcupine is a small animal which moves slowly and can be easily caught in fox ambush.
While fox employs all his tricks to catch its prey, porcupine acts the same every time. It curls its head and feet into his body and forms a sharp shield of armor with his prickly quills. It is so skillful in its only defensive technique that nobody has ever seen a porcupine to have been hunted by a fox.
The confrontation of fox and porcupine attitudes have always been going on among marketers and business owners. For example, conclusions drawn from the research carried out by writers of the book ” Good to Great” demonstrate the effectiveness of porcupine attitude. This team has done a broad study on companies with the compound profit of 3 times higher than the stock exchange market, and has found that these companies, have applied focus strategy on their work. In other words, they were doing only one thing and they were the best at that.
Gillette is a well-known example of these kind. According to reports which are available on Forbes website, Gillette brand with the value of 20 billion dollars, is the 26th valuable brand in the world with annual sales of 8 billion dollars. In this report, it is stated that 70% of the razor blade global market belongs to Gillette which is amazingly incredible.
By being impressed by the success of this brand, P&G (Procter & Gamble), owners of Gillette company were tempted to offer some more health and beauty products such as toothbrush to the market under the brand name Gillette.
Marketing analysts of the company stated that Gillette’s success is due to its expertise in shaving segment and if the brand is seen on other products, it will lose its identity in a way that could lead to sharp decrease in the sales of razor blade. Consequently, Gillette purchased Oral-B and developed a new professional brand in that segment.
On the other hand, some marketers and strategists oppose this idea and believe that it is not wise to put all the eggs in one basket. They express that this decision could put the business on high risk and if the brand faces any conceivable problem, the whole business will be seriously endangered.
In next article, by using examples from Iranian brands and businesses, we will investigate these two attitudes from other perspectives.