Why Design & the Bottom Line!

I have been asked many times why this blog, why Design & the Bottom Line?  It comes from my long standing interest in branding and why some brands and products are successful and others not.

My interest in these topics started in a very personal way, by the use of products that spanned two very different market categories. Back in the nineties, when I started renovating houses, and on a limited budget, I could only afford Black & Decker drills which at the time retailed for about $35.00.  The problem with these drills, at least through my experience, was that the tools would last only through one construction project before burning out.

Then in 1992 B&D created a entirely new line of power tools  by reintroducing an old trade name to the market along with a new logo-mark, new color, new industrial design and new media campaign all designed to move the line from a consumer brand to a professional brand. How did the company position this brand and differentiate it from its original line?

  • Color:   They used yellow because Milwaukee owned red, Makita owned blue
  • Logomark:   Lost the wimpy label with all of the nonessential text in favor of a bold masculine logo
  • Industrial Design:   Great design with copyrighted features, great look and feel, and a belt clip!
  • Price Point:   Doubled the retail price while probably increasing the manufacturing cost by only20%
  • Timing:  Launched at the emergence of the Big Box home improvement center roll-out, exposing weekend warriors like me to higher end tools and brands.
  • Marketing:   In 1999, B&D began to sponsoring NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth, creating brand awareness and strong consumer following

What’s the bottom line?  The company reintroduced a brand that could compete with the existing major professional lines in the market. The brand, now part of Stanley Black & Decker line Consumer Do-it-yourself products, represents over half of the companies $8.4B in revenue for FY 2010. What’s my bottom line­: I love my DeWalt tools, I don’t mind forking over the premium price, and I am still using everyone I have ever bought!

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