To Ensure NPD Success Use a Comprehensive Approach to Obtaining Customer Insights

December 13, 2021

This content relates to : NEW PRODUCT & SERVICE DEVELOPMENT


Good morning, good afternoon, good evening. My name is Michael Gorman, Vice President of new product development and product management at Stanley Black & Decker. I wanted to take a few moments to talk to you about how we fuel our innovation at Stanley Black & Decker through customer and consumer insights. 

There’s really two fundamental approaches that we take. One would identify as our ethnographic approach and this to some degree, is unique from a power tool perspective, from a hardware home improvement perspective where we really spend a large majority of time with the end user, be at the professional contractor or do it yourselfer or in their own environment. So, going out to residential and commercial job sites, as well as garages and homes of consumers to really focus on what we consider to be application-based innovation. So, what’s fundamentally understanding the task that the professional user is trying to accomplish and, or the task or project that the do it yourselfer is trying to accomplish. And we will profile the individual doing so really based on their level of expertise and skill. So if you can imagine on a professional job site, you might have anything from an apprentice all the way up to an accomplished seasoned supervisor doing the application and in the world of do it yourselfers, you could have everything from emerging do it yourselfers, perhaps it’s their first apartment, or home to an individual she or he that has been doing this for decades and they’re very skilled in their use of products. We want to profile and understand within each of those areas, where are your frustrations. What are your needs? How do you connect with this application both from a task completion standpoint as well as an emotional standpoint. And really draw out those insights from those users. We will continue that process throughout the development cycle, making sure as we do prototyping or come up with, you know, digital solutions that we bring them back to these users to check on and make sure that we’re staying up to date and relevant in case anything has changed.  

But, we also believe is extremely important to do is complement this ethnographic work with good quantitative analysis and study. And what we focus on there is understanding, feature and benefit trade-offs. How users may respond to a specific concept study that we might put in the form of a PowerPoint slide where you could engage the user with the use of visuals and put feature and benefit statements on there, as well as price. And then through really a survey approach, they can give you directionally what their elasticity is on pricing, maybe what their approval is in terms of your product concept. Is it unique? Is it different? Is it something that they would choose to use? So, from a standpoint of how we garner insights at Stanley Black & Decker is a balanced approach, it is a comprehensive approach and this approach that certainly doesn’t stop at the front end or the beginning of a project when we’re ideating the ideas. We take it all the way through our milestone product.  

So, whether it’s the lifestyle products and solutions, or whether it’s the high powered and cordless solutions for professional trades users, we really want to have an extremely comprehensive insights approach and we believe that rooted in our insights approach is the success that we’ve had in terms of over 22,000 new products that Stanley Black & Decker has launched over the last 30, I’m sorry, over the last three years. And with that, I really have the opportunity, I think, to go forward and tell you that we’re going to be taking the same approach as we continue on with our new product development cycle into our next strategic period as we really believe that it is our insights that have fuelled such a diversified and highly regarded innovation within our industry. 

Michael Gorman 

Vice-President of New Product Development & Product Management 

Stanley Black & Decker