Recently, Lloyd Lorenzsonn, DEWALT Global + NA Brand Leader, and Alex Tremaglio, Research Director for Radius, co-presented at a Quirk’s conference in New York. They talked about the iterative Mixed Methodology process that help to build the communications strategy for a new DEWALT product launch.
The DEWALT brand team was in pre-launch and planning mode for their new breakthrough Pouch Battery/PowerStack innovation stream in the power tool category. The team had already developed global positioning and had begun work on their go-to-market strategy, but new learning was needed on how to communicate specifics about the technology and its benefits. The team also wanted to establish ownership of the technology in the marketplace and create excitement around the launch with powerful stories and visuals.
To optimize input and feedback opportunities, the Radius Technical Product Story (TPS) framework was used. This is a Mixed Methodology approach which includes creative analysis, tension discovery, ideation and story development, and story optimization.
A central source of information was input from the product’s core customers including the professional contractors who work with similar tools in the field, decision makers in procurement and purchasing, and distributor partners.
Phase 1: Knowledge audit
With a focus on creative analysis of the knowledge available, the team looked at the impact battery failure had on contractors, the ideal state for battery-operated power tools, and the benefits of DEWALT’s new technology.
Phase 2: Tension discovery
During this two-day exploratory ethnographic online board with contracting professionals and business decision makers, key tensions, needs, and desires were identified.
Results showed that battery-operated power tools play an essential role in the contracting professionals’ daily work. These tools are convenient, lightweight, and offer freedom from cords, but tensions often arise, including:
- Batteries that die or don’t work well – even the simple act of changing a battery can interrupt workflow.
- Battery failure causes a ripple effect, costing time and money.
- To compensate for battery failure, contracting professionals need to keep multiple batteries charged and available.
Feedback revealed the most common tensions centered around the need for longer run time, more power, and a lighter and more compact battery, providing a map of the major frustrations to be addressed moving into Phase 3.
Phase 3: Ideation and storytelling
During this phase, the team tested multiple concepts including language and visualizations based on learnings and feedback. The responses showed that the ideal story should:
- Refer to the product as “PowerStack” which provides more clarity than “Pouch Battery”.
- Use straightforward language that is common to the workplace or trade.
- Include more context to compare the size of the batteries.
- Offer specifics around key metrics for comparison.
- Provide clarity on unique differences.
- Contain graphics that more readily imply “power stack.”
- Draw attention to the battery, not the power tool.
Phase 4: Optimization
The TPS directions were prioritized and optimized to guide further development with the DEWALT team. The product stories and visualizations were tested with select members of the Phase 1 group.
The optimized feedback gave clear direction on the stories that would have the most impact. The group reinforced the importance of referring to the “battery pouch” as “PowerStack”. They also gave helpful suggestions on refining story and visual pairings:
- Add more context for the battery itself, so professionals can get a three-dimensional idea of what the actual battery looks like, and when showing a visual on size comparison, ensure the proportions are correct.
- Provide more specifics around run time, power output, weight and size measurements so professionals have a clearer picture of what to expect.
- Professionals also gravitated to phrases such as “slim”, “power-packed”, and “maximizes battery space”, terms that could round out the messaging to give it more depth and meaning.
Engaging with core customers through the Technical Product Story framework fostered deeper learning about how customers use the technology in the field.”
Engaging with core customers through the Technical Product Story framework fostered deeper learning about how customers use the technology in the field. These key insights helped the DEWALT team understand PowerStack’s place in the user journey and served as the basis for positioning stories to establish DEWALT’s ownership of the concept in the marketplace.
This iterative Mixed Methodology approach delivered the customer stories the team needed to develop a clearer launch communications strategy. The team was able to rapidly apply learnings to create actionable resources to drive interest and excitement through relevant visuals, as well as cohesive and engaging Technical Product Stories that could be leveraged across communication touch points such as social media, traditional advertising, trade publication announcements, and more.
Want to learn more about the Technical Product Story framework?
Read a case study on Real Time Concept Optimization and how it helped shape a go-to-market strategy for a financial services firm.