Combining innovation with a consistent brand message is not a simple assignment, after all, innovation and consistency don’t exactly go together. However, the combination of the two when done well can achieve powerful results.
Brands such as Gillette, Nespresso and Apple have paved the way for innovation within their respective categories and reinforced their status with every new product they release. Working with enterprise-level brands across the globe, I’ve enjoyed tracking these types of undeniable category leaders, not only because of their consistently clever and engaging ads, but also because of their innovations of traditional, familiar products. It makes sense for companies to continue adapting their product category, but what happens when a brand tries to find its way into a new category?
In the early 90s, Dyson was a new brand entering the vacuum machine category and quickly became a best-selling vacuum in the UK and worldwide. The presence of a strong branding strategy certainly helped facilitate Dyson’s quick ascension to the top. Although Dyson has gone on to produce several other products besides the vacuums it originally became well known for, its advertising has always fallen within its unmistakable and well-crafted brand message.
Late last year, I was surprised to see Dyson venture outside of their traditional category and introduce their new Supersonic Hair Dryer. Would Dyson be able to implement their consistent brand messaging with this innovative new product?
The Art of Branding New Innovations
When I first learned that Dyson was producing a hair dryer, my immediate thought went straight to branding. Obviously, Dyson is known for their vacuums and maybe you’re even aware of their air purifiers and fans or desk lamps, but the jump into personal hair care was a significant diversion from anything that the company has produced previously.
With this large deviation from the norm, I was curious to see how the branding behind this release would be handled. Using Ebiquity’s Portfolio+ ad-monitoring service, I was able to take a look back at Dyson’s advertisements throughout the years to see how they have continued to position themselves as a category leader. When it comes to staying top-of-mind, a brand leader requires three main traits:
Image Credit: Dyson
- Impactful Advertising – Dyson has marketed itself with minimal yet captivating creative from the beginning. With a simple animation demonstrating what makes a Dyson the best vacuum cleaner available, the brand entered the category with an air of sophistication that it still holds to this day. In a category overrun by uninspired cleaning demonstrations, Dyson has always stood out with its impactful messaging.
Freebie! View the Portfolio+ details on the DC50 Ball vacuum video ad originally ran in Australia: Portfolio+ DC50 Ball Vacuum Ad (Australia)
- Consistent Brand Messaging – From its earliest TV spots, Dyson positioned itself as the most innovative brand in the vacuum category. One of its first branding messages was that of technological innovation. While cyclone technology already existed, inventor James Dyson applied the technology to floor cleaners and brought it to the consumer market. Dyson’s ad campaigns consistently reminded consumers of the brands place as innovators within the category and followed through on that message as the brand evolved into a technology company. The result is a brand message that communicates power, efficiency, and ease of use.
Freebie! View the Portfolio+ details on the Dyson Cyclone Technology video ad originally ran in the UK: Portfolio+ Dyson Cyclone Technology Ad (United Kingdom)
- Innovation – Dyson purposefully positioned itself as an innovative brand from the beginning. Animation of its Cyclone Technology highlighted its revolutionary design that resulted in the previously mentioned “no loss of suction.” Later, as Dyson entered the handheld cordless category, its Digital Motor took focus as a revolutionary advancement in efficiency and performance that allowed for vacuums that were smaller, lighter and more balanced.
Freebie! View the Portfolio+ details on the Dyson Cyclone Technology video ad originally ran in the US: Portfolio+ Dyson Cyclone Technology Ad (United States)
Branding for the New Frontier
Knowing what you now know about Dyson branding, it will come as little surprise that their initial hair dryer ads had all the hallmarks of a traditional Dyson ad.
From its sleek, innovative style to the emphasis on its patented, highly efficient, and powerful Digital Motor to its simple, yet impactful, messaging. Everything that I had come to love and expect from Dyson branding was present and I was happy to see that they had stayed so true to their traditional branding that helped make them a vacuum category leader. This strategy will undoubtedly continue to serve their brand well as they continue to produce new and innovative products.
Freebie! View the Portfolio+ details on the Dyson Supersonic video ad: Portfolio+ Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer Ad (France)