Thinking out of the Box - How a Ball point manufacturer became a market leader in razors and lighters

In his book Thinking in New Boxes, author Luc speaks about a case of how BIC, manufacturers of Ball point pens, got into Lighter manufacturing and disposable razors business.

BIC started as a stationery company and purveyor of popular low-cost ballpoint pens. Business was healthy, but BIC wanted to grow. Had BIC thought of itself as a “pen” company, it might have focused solely on expanding its range of pens with new colors, new sizes, and new price points.

But one executive perceived a new box. BIC was not in the pen business, it was in the “inexpensive disposable plastic items” business. With this breakthrough change to a different box, the company opened its eyes to a host of new opportunities—disposable lighters, razors, and even precharged mobile phones. BIC and its sales soared.

BIC launched its first disposable lighters in 1973 and its first disposable shavers in 1975 eventually becoming the global market leader in pocket lighters and number 2 position globally for one piece shavers.


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