Bic is one of those brands that is easy to belittle or even ignore. As they are doing most of their work in the lower end of the markets they address, it is easy to overlook them as a real brand. It’s a shame they don’t own their own domain name, but at least the existing owners do offer a link to their site.
But they are a real brand revolutionary. They have been delivering brand consistency since they formed in Clichy, France in 1945.
But I’m going to put my reputation on the line and say that I think they are a quite remarkable brand and many others could learn from them and what they do.
If I was going to summarise their brand values in a few words, I would describe them as Orange, practical, simple and functional.
None of their products seem complicated, all seem to work very well for what they are and all offer tremendous value for what they do. They haven’t been chasing upmarket like others and as such, haven’t lost their way in the process.
I was in Barcelona airport a few weeks ago and my eye was drawn to a Bic Phone. A bargain at 29 Euro and it came fully charged and with 12 Euro of credit on it. Even better was the fact that it was linked to the Orange Network! It looked like a good little phone and in an emergency (or an Ashley Cole) would be a good way out of trouble.
So what else do they do?
They still have their pens, but these are increasingly nice to use and don’t seem to be as orange as they once were.
They also still do a great line in lighters. Looking at their history, these were introduced in 1973 and still seem to dominate most newsagents counters. Again, lots of new colours and styles have been introduced, but they are still a sensible, functional purchase that few could regret.
And perhaps their most famous emergency purchase was introduced in 1975 (they were pretty productive years for the Bic design team!) and is the Bic Razor. I was forced into using one the other day by having left my own in our holiday house, and it was actually okay. I was expecting to have my face lacerated like a dog had been gnawing at it, but it was a nick free shave.
I know Bic won’t be everyone’s cup of tea as there is simply no Kudos in owning Bic, but as a brand man, I see an awful lot of bad brands out there and the Bic logo, the Bic product offering and the whole Bic brand ethos seems to have remained quite remarkably stable since they first started.
I wish them many more successful years.