James Dyson started his career as an inventor right after his studies in the Royal College of Art in London. His first design was a boat, which he called the Seatruck due to its ability to travel at high speed while carrying heavy cargo. His next invention, the ballbarrow, was a kind of a wheelbarrow, which could be used on the sea or on sand. However, the real success came to Dyson with the invention of the Dyson vacuum cleaner. The novelty of the vacuum cleaner was in its ability to use cyclonic separation for achieving continuous suction. Moreover, Dyson vacuum cleaner was the first device, which did not require a bag for dust, thus offering significant savings for the users (Blythe). The success of the design was in Dyson’s ability to notice the flaws of the products already in the market and to offer solutions, which exactly met consumer latent demands. Essentially he did not only satisfy the needs of the consumers, but created it by showing people the major drawbacks of the traditional products. Thus, although the vacuum cleaner concept was not new, Dyson’s modifications fit consumer demands, performing better than the competing products.
The key to success of Dyson’s product is the perspective of the inventor. Instead of revolutionizing the market or creating powerful engineering upgrades, he simply noticed a detail that needed a minor modification and changed it (Foreman, and Abraham). The advertising campaigns, which accompanied the release of the Dyson vacuum cleaner emphasized the simplicity of the design and the convenience of the method by presenting the new devices to the public, organizing trials and demonstrating the clogging, which was inherent to the previous vacuum cleaner models.
Dyson’s faith of in his creation is worth admiration. In his interview to the The Daily Telegraph he said that “anyone developing new products needs one characteristics above all else, Hope”. The amount of money and the time he spent on creating and testing different prototypes shows that he, indeed had a lot of hopes about the success of the new vacuum cleaner and was ready to work on it until the end. However, the exiting vacuum cleaner companies did not possess the vision Dyson had. They all refused to buy the model, trying to secure their revenues from the bags, used in the existing models. This fact forced Dyson to target international markets first, where the bargaining power of the vacuum cleaner producers was not as high. He rightly predicted that the target for his invention is not the mass market, but a niche segment, where price premium can be charged. Thus, he presented his product in Japan at the International Design Fair. Having won the first prize, Dyson started to market his the product through catalogues. In order to create more than just a vacuum cleaner and to meet customer demand, G-Force, Dyson vacuum cleaner, was sold in pink. The success of the device was apparent due to the fact that Japanese buyers were ready to purchase it at an incredible price of 2000 pounds, buying it as a symbol of their status rather than just as vacuum cleaner. However, Dyson could not stop at that point. He believed that he could convince buyers even in the UK, that his product was indeed worth the money spent. Although he met significant resistance from the producers of the traditional vacuum cleaners and had to overcome the scepticism of the price-sensitive British consumers, his idea turned out to be a success even in the UK. Today there are more than 15 000 0000 Dyson vacuum cleaners in the households all over the world. People continue buying them even despite the retail price above 500 dollars and the availability of similar products in the market. The company has expanded significantly since the time G-Force was first invented, creating more and more profit for its creator. However, Dyson continues to innovate and invest into new technologies, which aim to make life of people easier and more convenient.
Thus, in 2009 Dyson introduced his new Air Multiplier, which is a bladeless equivalent of the regular fan. However, Ait Multiplier provides a continuous flow of air. it is safer and more energy-efficient than the traditional models and produces less noise. It also allows users to adjust the airflow in order to obtain the desired level of control over the power of the fan. The Air Multiplier Technology was also used in the extension of the fan, the Dyson Hot fan heater. It allows distributing hot air evenly and can be regulated with a remote control. Moreover, the Dyson Hot can be also used as a cool air fan. However, the new invention by Dyson can be purchased at the starting price of 229 US dollars, which is far above any other standard fan ("Dyson"). The high price of the device does not only point at its innovative nature, but also makes it a niche product, which is only available for a small group of customers, who are ready to pay a significant price premium. The question, which should therefore be asked is whether consumers are ready to pay extra for the new Dyson fan.
Although the product was released not long time ago, the profits derived from the fans and hair dryers account for approximately one fifth of the overall company profits. This value indicate that there is a sufficient number of customers in the market, who are willing to pay the price premium in order to receive their innovative fan. The marketing approach to the Air Multiplier was similar to the one used by Dyson for his G-Force. The first markets to tackle were Japan, US and Australia, rather than Europe, where people are more responsive to the innovative ideas (Kavanagh ). Air Multiplier serves as a good example of the product, which combines good engineering with good design. However, the revenues achieved from the sales of Air Multiplier are derived from the price premium, rather than from large volumes. Therefore, it is not suggested for the company to distribute the product through retail channels. Instead, their current strategy of online and catalogue selling proves to be very efficient, helping to reduce inventory and make the devices based on the actual demand for the Air Multiplier.
Today very often innovation is driven by the engineers and not consumers. Trying to win in the war for the market share, companies design more and more sophisticated devices, with numerous features and applications. Unfortunately, at some point additional features do not add value to the consumers, but complicate the device, making it less and less attractive. The so called feature fatigue defines the moment, when the number of additional features makes the device inconvenient and erodes company’s sales and profits. However, the inventions by Dyson do not follow the same patter. Every device created by the inventor is designed with careful consideration of the consumer interests. Therefore, every small innovation becomes so popular and revolutionizes the market of very familiar items.
The other product, that successfully combines functionality and “coolness” is Nintendo Wii . In the market, where competition was on the level of developing games with better quality and higher level of sophistication, Nintendo followed a different path. They simplified the gaming experience in a way that even a small child can enjoy playing video games. The cordless controllers create a completely different feeling, which is not possible to obtain using traditional video games. Wii truly revolutionized the concept of a video game, extending the target market and functionality of the product. Now even older people, as well as very young children, can enjoy video games, which do not even have to be a games in the tradition sense. Thus, people can do yoga, fitness or other sports using their Wii console. Moreover, the extended opportunities are offered to the customers at almost no additional cost, since the price of Wii is comparable to that of Sony Playstation 3 and Microsoft Xbox. Ninetndo with their Wii changes the concept of a console game and sets a new standard in the industry. In order to shatter the market leadership of Nintendo, competing companies should reconsider the traditional understanding of the console game and extend it beyond the conventional boundaries. Only in this way will they be able to satisfy customer demand and compete in the new console business.
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Foreman, George, and Ken Abraham. Knockout Entrepreneur . Nashville, the United States
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Kavanagh, Michael. "Dyson cuts blades from 'Air Multiplier' design." Financial Times.
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