Whipsaw – Dan Harden
Eton Design Strategy
Eton Design Strategy
This program encompassed the strategy and design of multiple product lines and their identity, including product, packaging, sub–branding and exhibition. The goal was to build thoughtful product lines that helped people while also increasing Eton’s revenue, growth, and brand awareness – all of which were achieved.
Dan Harden, Sam Benavidez, Hiro Teranishi
The jury appreciated this extremely well executed design strategy project, particularly the consistency created in all the project's deliverables. We valued the enormous amount of effort (also in convincing the company) that went into this.
Eton Design Strategy
1. Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the challenge posed to you? Did it get you excited and why?
The purpose was to strategize a complete line of products and the identity around them, including the packaging, POP, sub-branding, and exhibition display. The goal was to increase revenue, growth, and brand awareness for Eton, and to build a thoughtful product line. Eton has been around for decades but its brand was languishing. Our challenge was to infuse design into every aspect of the company.
Part of the strategy in revitalizing this company was to identify opportunities for innovation, including:
- Integrating green energy technologies like solar and dynamo hand cranks.
- Create emergency assistance products that featured useful information such as NOAA weather band, wide band, 2-way communication, and cell phone charger.
- Build on the Apple's popularity by creating unique outdoor solar-powered iPod stereos.
- Capitalize on the growing outdoor market by creating rugged multifunction devices that would help campers and adventure-seekers.
- Subdivide the brand into an emergency Red Cross line, a green "adventure" line, and an Apple line.
- create an exciting exhibition booth to highlight all products and the brand.
We live in a dangerous world. Natural and man-made disasters happen often, as the Haiti earthquake, Katrina hurricane, and Japanese tsunami remind us. Our challenge was to alleviat fears and provid real value in an emergency.
We also sought to integrate the most appropriate and effective energy sources. These products would be aimed at the eco-adventure outdoorsman or the consumer who aspires to be one. We wanted to use dynamo cranks, solar, led light, etc.
2. What point of view did you bring to the challenge? Was there anything additional that you wanted to achieve with this project or bring to this project that was not part of the original brief?
Several methods were used to define and analyze the strategy, beginning with customer analysis and interviews, competitive market analysis, and eco-technology research. Much of the strategy focused on psychology of the product, user needs, design exploration, product opportunity, and defining corporate strengths.
An interesting part of the strategy was the investigation of the psychology of fear. We wanted to mitigate anxiety as much as possible with the products, so we had to delve into the brain first. We analyzed fear-caused elevations of pulse and blood pressure rates and how to alleviate them. We then sought form cues, symbols and colors that invoked confidence, comfort, and calmness. We sought design elements that would instantly communicate safety, protection, durability, and peace of mind. The roll cage is a good example of designing in this sense of confidence - it was inspired by motorsport engineering details like impregnable rally car frames and brawny monster truck chassis’.
THE STRATEGY WAS IMPLEMENTED BY:
- Extensive needs finding including ethnographic interviews and research.
- Workshops with executives, managers and factory workers.
- Discussions with psychologists about fear
- SWOT analysis of corporation
- Product fullfillment chain analysis
- Concept development and testing
- Detailed documentation, specifications, and design guidelines.
3. When designing this project, whose interests did you consider? (Discuss various stakeholders, audiences, retailing, manufacturing, assembly, distribution, etc., for example.)
The strategy focused on creating success for Eton by creating well made, useful and desirable products for their targeted user groups.
The strategy has had a dramatic impact on Eton’s brand, image, and bottom line. The Brand has acheived vastly increased recognition, as the system has been featured in Metropolis, Wired, Maxim, National Geographic, and many others. It won the "Best of the Best", the highesthonor of the Red Dot Awards. Financially it has paid off too. Eton has shipped hundreds of thousands of these units.
Users and the environment benefited too. All products feature solar and/or a fold-out hand crank dynamos to supply electricity to the unit and to charge a cell phone. With dynamo and solar, users are never left without power, which is reassuring especially in an emergency. Dynamo and solar are good for users and the environment - users get piece of mind and even a little exercise, and batteries aren’t consumed and thrown away. The devices are also easy to use. Large shape-differentiated controls, knobs, and graphics are super intuitive, which is helpful especially during an emergency when you cannot think, and you just want information now. Each product has a beefy handle for grab and go action.
The exhibition booth was a huge hit at the 2011 CES. Etons and show guests were thrilled with the booth experience.
4. Describe the rigor that informed your design. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) If this was a strictly research or strategy project, please provide more detail here.
So much research and study went into this project over the years during its development. User studies, focus group testing, and concept validation testing were conducted. Because these products rely on technology a thorough study of technology features and capabilities needed to take place. Concept testing with targeted user groups also occurred.
5. What is the social value of your design? (Gladdening, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, labor-mindful, environmental, cultural, etc.) How does it earn its keep in the world?
The Eton strategy had a large social component. All products incorporate green energy sources such as dynamo crank and solar, and each aim to help individuals within a social context of greater need.
6. If you could have done one thing differently with the project, what would you have changed?
Done it sooner.