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How Did Johnson & Johnson Become A Household Name?

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) might be one of many world’s most recognizable multinational corporations. The New Brunswick, N.J., based mostly firm has been in enterprise for greater than 130 years and employs over 130,000 people. With operations in 60 completely different international locations, it is among the world’s largest well being and wellness corporations.

Johnson & Johnson operates three divisions—prescription drugs, medical gadgets, and client merchandise. In November 2021, the corporate introduced it will break up into two publicly traded corporations—one housing the buyer merchandise enterprise and the opposite comprising the prescription drugs and medical gadgets companies.

A few of its iconic model names might be present in households internationally, together with Band-Help, Listerine, Visine, and Tylenol. However simply how did this firm change into the company big that it’s at this time? This text appears to be like on the historical past of the corporate and a few of the methods it makes use of to make itself a family title.

Key Takeaways

  • Johnson & Johnson owns many family names within the well being care client merchandise house, together with Tylenol and Band-Help.
  • The corporate additionally has a prescription drugs and medical gadgets enterprise.
  • In November 2021, J&J introduced it will break up into two publicly traded corporations—one will comprise the buyer merchandise enterprise, and the opposite will embrace the prescription drugs and medical gadgets companies.
  • For now, J&J stays some of the strong parts of the DJIA and some of the influential and worthwhile corporations in existence.

Johnson & Johnson: A Transient Historical past

Johnson & Johnson has been in enterprise for greater than 130 years. The corporate was based by pharmacist Robert Wooden Johnson and his brothers James Wooden and Edward Mead Johnson in 1886 with simply 14 workers. A yr later, it was the primary firm to mass-produce sterile surgical provides.

By 1888, solely two years after the corporate was established, the brothers launched a information outlining the remedy of wounds and full first-aid kits. In 1894, the corporate launched kits for use throughout childbirth together with one among its most iconic merchandise—child powder.

The corporate went public on Sept. 24, 1944, and trades on the New York Inventory Change.

Over time, the corporate pushed additional into the well being and wellness industry by growing, innovating, and advertising and marketing new and improved merchandise aimed toward shoppers. Johnson & Johnson’s array of consumer goods isn’t merely huge, however dominant. This consists of skincare merchandise, over-the-counter medicine, smoking cessation aids, shampoos, cleaning soap, prescription drugs, and medical gadgets.

Though Johnson & Johnson is a behemoth in client items, the corporate is initially a medical gadgets provider. You most likely do not consider knee implants and catheters as carrying company brand names the identical manner that shampoos or antihistamines do, however they’re each bit as a lot Johnson & Johnson merchandise because the latter.

In November 2021, J&J introduced it will break up into two publicly traded corporations—one firm shall be made up of the prescription drugs and medical gadgets enterprise, whereas the opposite will embrace client merchandise. The break up is predicted to happen in 12-18 months (from November 2021).

Model Energy

A part of Johnson & Johnson’s success has to do with its profitable line of brands. For those who’ve ever bandaged a wound, rinsed your mouth, utilized lotion, sanitized your palms, battled a headache, substituted sugar, or handled heartburn, there’s an excellent probability that you simply did so courtesy of Johnson & Johnson’s analysis and improvement.

A number of the hottest names within the firm’s portfolio embrace Band-Help, Listerine, Aveeno, Stayfree, Lubriderm, Visine, Tylenol, Zarbee’s, and Bengay—all family names.

Marketing is essential for the corporate. It caters to shoppers’ feelings and sensibilities. As an example, advertising and marketing for the Neutrogena model focuses on the empowerment of ladies. Johnson & Johnson additionally launched a social media marketing campaign for Band-Help merchandise by making a particular hashtag #CoveringIsCaringEffort.


One other key technique that retains Johnson & Johnson front-and-center on shoppers’ minds is acquisitions. In any case, its revenue stream is not derived organically. In these cases the place Johnson & Johnson doesn’t innovate in its essential fields of curiosity, it makes use of its substantial monetary muscle to amass.

As an example, Johnson & Johnson finalized its $21.3 billion buy of Synthes in 2012, a Swiss producer of implements that treats traumatic accidents. That was Johnson & Johnson’s largest buy because it purchased Pfizer’s (PFE) client healthcare unit in 2006, which immediately positioned Johnson & Johnson as a certifiable client merchandise titan. Then in 2017, Johnson & Johnson made the $30 billion buy of Actelion.

As of the 2020 fiscal end-year submitting, Johnson & Johnson boasts 495 subsidiary corporations; 142 within the U.S. and 353 internationally. These embrace McNeil Nutritionals, the maker of synthetic sweeteners, and Ethicon, a supplier to the laparoscopic surgical procedure business.


The corporate reported $82.58 billion in revenue for the 2020 fiscal yr—$43.13 from the US whereas the remaining $39.45 got here from worldwide sources.

The corporate’s prescription drugs phase continues to dominate the corporate’s income stream, with $45.57 billion in gross sales for 2020, 8.4% year-over-year (YoY) progress. That made up 55% of the corporate’s whole income. Medical gadgets generated almost $23 billion in gross sales, which represented 28% of whole revenue for the yr, whereas client merchandise generated $14.05 billion—17% of whole gross sales.

Though Johnson & Johnson develops and sells a few of the best-known over-the-counter medicine available on the market, the true profit facilities are the corporate’s higher-margin specialty prescription drugs. These embrace Remicade and Simponi, which suppress autoimmune illnesses like Crohn’s illness and arthritis. Each medicine carry a really excessive price ticket, there are even financial savings applications for eligible sufferers to solely pay $5 per remedy for a most advantage of $20,000 per yr. One other one is Zytiga, which fights notably resilient types of prostate most cancers and which sells for round $1,000 for a month’s provide. Zytiga additionally presents a financial savings program the place eligible sufferers pay solely $120 for a yr’s provide.

Given the sluggish tempo of drug approval in each the US and Europe, the earnings realized by Johnson & Johnson at this time are the results of years and billions of {dollars} price of analysis beforehand undertaken. The corporate acknowledges that it information for approval for new drugs and line extensions of present medicine as much as 4 years prematurely, and that lag doesn’t even embrace how lengthy it takes for them to seem on pharmacy cabinets.


Being an enormous would not come with out sure problems. On Dec. 14, 2018, Reuters reported that Johnson & Johnson executives have been conscious that the corporate’s child powder contained asbestos however continued to promote and promote it anyway.

The particular investigation, which checked out firm paperwork and trial testimonies, confirmed that Johnson & Johnson officers, mine managers, medical doctors, and legal professionals knew that the corporate’s uncooked talc powder examined optimistic for small portions of asbestos between 1971 and the early 2000s. Johnson & Johnson shares dropped almost 10% following the report. There are numerous lawsuits associated to J&J and the claims which have but to be resolved.

The Backside Line

Johnson & Johnson offers a few of the most important merchandise on the planet, from lowering the impression of AIDS, combating diabetes, even serving to the deaf to listen to and the lame to stroll. Now effectively into its second century, Johnson & Johnson stays some of the strong parts of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), and some of the influential and worthwhile corporations in existence.

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