July 2016, by Lizzy Stallard, Marketing & New Business
The cooling mist pouring out onto Oxford Street on one of the hottest days of the year was perhaps contributing to the bustle in the store, but looking at the amount of demos taking place, it certainly wasn’t the only reason…
Earlier this month the first ever Dyson ‘demo’ store opened on the busiest strip of retail in the world, smack bang next to the ultimate automotive brand, Tesla. We all know that Sir James Dyson is openly not a big believer in brand, even quoted as saying that the one and only banned word at Dyson is ‘brand’. As proponents of brand, albeit pragmatic about brand, we were intrigued to immerse ourselves in an experience where the ‘b’ word is a dirty word.
Akin to the hubbub of the Apple store around the corner, it’s immediately difficult not to draw comparisons with one of the most recognised brands in the world. There’s the irony. What strikes you at first is the coiffed staff donned in crisp white uniforms busying themselves amongst a stream of interested onlookers. The space feels futuristic, part ‘lab-like’ and part exhibition and it really does show the technology in action.
The space is arranged into different ‘stations’ showcasing the product range. With Dyson’s first venture into beauty care, the Supersonic hairdryer was creating quite a buzz. At £299.99 each, it’s probably no surprise that there was a lot of intrigue. The fans and humidifiers ‘exhibit’, attracted a slew of people still all pondering ‘how on earth does it work?’ And a couple of Dyson 360 Eye robot vacuums were being tested to the limit navigating their way around the floor, avoiding the onslaught of feet.
Seeing the products in action, coupled with ‘technology exhibits’ on the walls showcasing every element of the product really does support the ‘it’s what’s inside that matters’ mantra at Dyson. This was after all the driving force for the opening of the first physical presence – an interactive experience, allowing consumers to get up close and hands on with the product range. And with no visible sales point, it does feel more show case, than shop.
After hanging around the supersonically priced hair dryer (along with everyone else), the offer to try the product in the Dyson hair salon upstairs seemed hard to refuse. A lovely lady enthusiastically talked me through the ins and outs of the technology whilst blow-drying my hair. It’s true she was on brand (if we’re allowed to say such a thing), in that she focused entirely on the technology behind the latest Dyson innovation. I learnt all about intelligent heat control, negative ions, microprocessors and more.
Whether you choose to call it a brand or not, we wholeheartedly believe that Dyson is one – and a powerful one at that. Whatever your label – an essence, a truth, a belief – what’s of most interest is that successful businesses are those that have a strong core and deliver against that core consistently and wholeheartedly – across every aspect of the business, inside and out.
From vacuum cleaners to hand dryers and now to hair dryers – Dyson applies endless amounts of research to reinvent the norm and to redefine categories. If the Dyson brand is on a tireless mission to make things better through the power of innovation, technology and design, there’s no limit to which categories will be getting the Dyson touch next.