Do Dyson’s new products enhance that strategy? How?

Dyson is a great example of a company that invigorates markets once considered to be mature and boring. This is not an accident. Choosing and developing new products requires careful consideration with regards to the consumer, the marketplace and the current product portfolio. This case study will allow you to delve into the mind of James Dyson and examine the strategies behind new product development.

Research and analyze the product strategy at Dyson. The attached case will assist in your analysis. However, you will need to conduct additional research to complete your analysis.

Instructions

What is Dyson’s product strategy?

Do Dyson’s new products enhance that strategy? How?

How does Dyson differentiate its products? Is it effective? Why?

Discuss the impacts of the product lifecycle on Dyson products?

What role does pricing play in the product strategy?

Discuss the implications of new competitor like Shark on Dyson’s product strategy.

 

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ONCE THE ARCHETYPAL genius inventor slogging away in his home workshop, Sir James Dyson now heads one of the world’s most dynamic technology firms, the Dyson company, employing some 1000 engineers and scientists.

The 68-year-old Briton, who was knighted in 2007, owns more land than Queen Elizabeth – over 10,000 hectares, according to the Financial Times. With a net worth of $US4.9 billion ($6.1 billion), he is ranked 10th in Forbes’s list of England’s billionaires in 2015 and at No. 318 in the world – up 10 places from last year.

Known not only as an iconic inventor but a freethinker who urges his staff to “dare to be different”, it is perhaps unsurprising that Dyson’s path to financial success – and his attitudes to business – are less than conventional. “Raised by a classics teacher, I had little exposure to entrepreneurs growing up. It seems to work to my advantage; I’ve been a bit of misfit throughout my professional life,” he says.

“Perhaps my most formative moment came with the loss of my father at a young age. The youngest in my family, I was competitive and always up against bigger people.”

Dyson says his mother received a small pension and he had no one to go to for money as a young student in London (he studied at the Royal College of Art). “This lack of cash had a profound effect on my career,” he says. “It drove me to get involved with an engineering company and my first commercial commission – the Rotork Sea Truck.”

The late Jeremy Fry, founder of Rotork, gave Dyson his first job as a designer. “He was a mentor to me,” says Dyson. “Whilst building the Sea Truck – a high-speed, flat-bottomed boat – together, Fry was teaching me to be persistent with my own ideas, forget what the experts said and learn to do everything myself.

“Fifty percent of the time in business you fail. The trick Fry taught me was to recognise when you have gone wrong and correct the damage – not to worry at the moment of making the decision whether it is the right one.”

The Sea Truck was a success and in 1974 Dyson left Rotork to develop his own products. First came the Ballbarrow, a reinvention of the wheelbarrow that rolled on a ball rather than a wheel. It provided a valuable learning experience for the young entrepreneur. “We had been turning out 45,000 Ballbarrows a year. I mistakenly assigned the rights to a company I didn’t own. But I learnt my lesson. Intellectual property is an inventor’s armour – you must protect your technology,” he cautions.

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