Strong Products

When I say these four words, "Cleaning, Transparent, Yellow, Grey", What do you think of?

I bet 99% of you couldn't help but think of, the Dual Cyclone inventor, sir James Dyson's namesake vacuum cleaners - with their strong colour identity, strong build and strong suction. 49.5% of you probably only needed 50% of those four words in any combination to figure it out. But enough with the useless made-up percentages, I have made a discovery...

The first vacuumes by Dyson, the DC01 and DC02

Dyson revolutionised the vacuum cleaning industry using his revolutionary technology. To me he is the the Leonardo da Vinci of this century... including a crumb of the previous century. When most of the world has paused to accept that we as human beings have reached our inventive potential, Dyson reinvents the wheel.

His products are (debatably) good looking and smart, fresh and exciting, they are the Porsche 911's of proud home keepers, hotel staff, and Porsche 911 owners... Until my (then 32year- old) sister, with 3 kids hanging from her limbs, ended up buying the classic model Dyson vacuum cleaner, which is kept safe in it's garage (laundry cupboard).

Now my sister isn't what I'd call the target market of Dyson but that is how successful James Dyson's products are - everyone understands them, everyone wants a one!!!
They are premium products that need little to no explanation on how they work, operate, or benefit their user - outweighing its premium price. This is what separates good products from successful products and I hate to do this but I'm going to compare them to Apple.

Comparing apples with Apple is a possible task: If it's a flat piece of technology containing software and a sort of screen embedded in it then it is actually quite simple. But if I was to compare Dyson to Apple you might think a cog has tumbled out of my ear but with the following four points, I uncover their similarities:

1 - EASY TO UNDERSTAND AND USE: They both rose to mainstream fame with their transparent-shelled designs that let the user peer in to the "soul" of the product and instantly understand it's inner workings. A complex view or not, this removed the intimidating veil of past technologies, disarming any doubts held by the user. This design feature says to the user

"I am different

but do not fear me,

discover me"

iSee what you mean (Transparent bodies of Apple and Dyson)

2 - VALUE: They both were premium-priced products that sold very well, in fact the products sold themselves. "Consumers are assumed to act in terms of rational calculation in market decisions and have three characteristics: i. Their tastes are consistent. ii. Their cost calculations are correct. iii. They make those decisions that maximise utility." McCormick, 1997.

3 - EXPANDABLE: They both spawned a new ethos of products from the success of a single product. Apple went on to create the iPod, iTunes, iPhone etc. Dyson went on to create the Air Multiplier, Dyson Hot and the ever increasingly popular Airblade.

Meet the family (1st Gen iPod and Dyson's Airblade)

4 - POINT OF DIFFERENCE: They both were similar enough but different enough in comparison with their competitor products, which gave them a point of difference

So similar, yet so far apart (Steve and James with their doodads)

The lesson I hope to walk away with from this "analysis" is that a good product looks good and does good. Successful products are strong enough to sell themselves through ease of understanding and use. More importantly they have a strong identity, that potentially could lead to an ethos of products.

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