S.C. Johnson & Son has helped to make the flyswatter a thing of the past with its pest control in a can. It's one of the world's largest makers of consumer chemical products, boasting big brands such as Raid, OFF!, Glade, Mr. Muscle, Pledge, Drano, fantastik, Scrubbing Bubbles, Shout, Vanish, Windex, and Ziploc, among others. Founded in 1886, S.C. Johnson sells its products in 70-plus countries. The founder's great-grandson and once one of the nation's richest men, Samuel Johnson, died in 2004. His immediate family, including descendants of his daughter, still own the company. Chairman Dr. Fisk Johnson assumed the title of CEO when president and CEO Bill Perez left for NIKE in 2004.
The company operates its business in more than 70 countries, including Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, North America, and Latin America. Nearly two-thirds of its locations are in Europe and Asia.
S.C. Johnson focuses on serving several categories, such as cleaning, home fragrance, pest control, storage, shoe care, and auto care. Its bulging portfolio of brands includes Pledge, Duck, Mr. Muscle, Windex, Scrubbing Bubbles, SC Johnson's Glade, Oust, Raid, OFF!, Baygon, Autan, ALLOUT, Ziploc, Saran, Kiwi, Tana, Bama, and Grand Prix.
Many of S.C. Johnson's products have been and remain top sellers in their markets. To keep them fresh, the company regularly rolls out updated products and those that help the company compete in new niches, such as its Ziploc Brand Compostable Bags, which debuted in 2013. Competing with products made by natural products giant Seventh Generation, the bags help to reduce landfill waste while also providing food freshness and convenience.
As part of its strategy, the company keeps a close eye on products that lose their footing or log noteworthy sales slips. For example, after seeing its Edge and Skintimate shave preparation brands lose market share to rival Procter & Gamble's Gillette, the company sold off the two brands in 2009 to Energizer, which already competes with P&G in the razors business with its Schick-Wilkinson Sword unit.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Looking to serve Europe, where the company already conducts a good portion of its business, S.C. Johnson in late 2013 acquired Melvo Holding GmbH from a shareholder group led by VR Equitypartner. The European shoe care company sells such leading brands as Salamander (a top brand in Russia), Woly, Woly Sport, and Grison. S.C. Johnson paired the products with its existing Kiwi and Bama brands.
To boost the company's Ziploc business and expand its portfolio of household brands, S.C. Johnson in 2012 acquired ITW's Space Bag brand to market this complementary product alongside the Ziploc business.
Additionally, as Sara Lee Corporation exited its household and body care products business, S.C. Johnson has been a willing buyer of its brands. In 2011 it acquired Sara Lee's shoe care business for €245 million ($322 million). S.C. Johnson also bought Sara Lee's Ridsect and Bloom brands of insecticides outside the European Union and India for more than €150 million (about $200 million); countries included in the deal were Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Kenya. (S.C. Johnson originally intended to buy Sara Lee's insecticide operations in the EU, but the companies decided to step away from the deal because of competition concerns raised by the European Commission.) The Ridsect and Bloom brands are sold in more than 40 countries worldwide.
While its competitors dip their toes in the commercial side of the cleaning and air freshener products business, S.C. Johnson has fined-tuned its focus on the consumer side. The company's commercial products division (Johnson Wax Professional and Johnson Polymer) was spun off as a private company owned by the Johnson family.
Sales and Marketing
The consumer products company sells through retailers the likes of Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Target, and Tesco, as well as online.
S.C. Johnson uses BBDO and Ogilvy & Mather as its global advertising agencies. BBDO markets the Pest Control and Home Storage brands while Ogilvy & Mather steers the marketing of the company's home fragrance and home cleaning brands.
Working Mother magazine regularly recognizes S.C. Johnson as one of the 100 best companies for working mothers.
S.C. Johnson generates about $9 billion in sales.