MCA Management Awards 10 Year Anniversary: Innovation


Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Spear & Jackson might be the UK's oldest tool manufacturer, but it didn't want age to stand in the way of innovation, even in a business where the new is often rejected in favour of the tried and trusted. With its saw division operating at a loss, on a turnover of just £675,000, S&J asked Propaganda to help turn it round.

Together, they set out to identify new market opportunities, develop a new product, devise a strategy for taking it to market and then sell 30,000 units in the first year. To make things really interesting, they gave themselves just six months to go from research phase to full launch.

Propaganda's planning team discovered that tradesmen were loyal to the brands they used on a regular basis and tended to replace their wood saws every two to four weeks. With the average saw costing around £5, price was as significant a factor as quality and efficiency.

The consulting firm's bold proposal was to challenge the prevailing mindset and persuade tradesmen not just to switch brands, but to pay twice as much. Spear & Jackson's R&D team came up with a universal hardpoint, non-resharpenable wood saw that would make cutting more efficient and accurate as well as safer.

It would also have a longer life than conventional saws.

This would be a product at the top of its 'food chain', so a naming workshop christened it the Predator. Since it cost more to make, the Predator was priced at £9.99 and given premium-brand packaging that doubled as a measuring tool. Trade advertising focused on the differentiating benefits of the saw and the quality of the Spear & Jackson brand.

Propaganda devised a money-back guarantee too, to help break the habitual buying behaviours of tradesmen.

Within 16 weeks of launch, S&J's saw division had smashed its first-year target. More than 200,000 units were sold in the next 12 months, enabling the division to double its turnover and beef up market share by 10%. Demand for the brand is such that a further four saws have been added to the successful Predator range.


Propaganda proposals for S&J saws doubled turnover and increased market share by 10%.

- Unearth industry and consumer insights to ground the strategy in fact and to cut risk.

- Use those insights to inform R&D so that your new product or service fills a genuine need in an innovative way.

- Show faith in the product by offering customers a money-back guarantee.

SHORTLISTED Consultancy: RightCoutts Client: British Council Consultancy: TMI Client: Computacenter


Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime