Related diversification will help your brand thrive. Elite-level product design will cement it to the top.

After 6 years and 500 prototypes, this month marks the release of the Dyson Zone, a pair of headphones that promises not only to block noise but unwanted airborne particles as well, thanks to a built-in filtration system and mask. The Dyson Zone purifies the air you breathe on the move. And unlike face masks, it delivers a plume of fresh air without touching your face, using high-performance filters and two miniaturized air pumps.

And yes, you may think it looks futuristic, but you’re more likely to think it looks ridiculous. If so, you're not alone. Public and press reaction to the product’s release has been tepid, with many describing it as ‘absurd’, ‘impractical’, and incapable of living up to its $949 price tag. Others love the innovation, amazed at Dyson’s incapability to miss.

But regardless of your knee-jerk reaction, it's hard to deny that this product could be a game-changer in audio products. Five years from now, could you imagine this sort of headphone tech being commonplace? Could you imagine the product to be a “10 things I couldn't live without” item for the average city dweller?  I could.

That’s the magic of Dyson.

A good brand is an agile one, not scared to fail, and open to testing outside of its comfort zone.

Over the years, Dyson has come to master related diversification.  A strategy in which a brand expands its operations by entering into businesses that are related to its existing business activities. Once known merely as a Hoover brand (sorry Henry) Dyson has been slowly branching out its product offerings, but sticking to its specialty - devices that move air. Think fans, air filters, and, perhaps most famously, its viral hair dryer.

I know, I know. The brand may have reinvented the hairdryer, but not the wheel. Any business book worth its salt will tell you related diversification allows a company to leverage its existing resources, capabilities, and market position to enter new markets, right?

But Dyson has taken related diversification above and beyond through elite product design. In its revolutionary vacuum and its hyper-fast, quiet hairdryer Dyson is not producing updated versions of the same product *cough* Apple *cough*. The brand is daring to disrupt entire industries, using its IP to create the best product within each category it competes in. Dyson is rapidly gaining a reputation for repositioning products seemingly at saturation point innovation-wise, taking them to a new level.  

The takeaway here is that a good brand is an agile one, not scared to fail, and open to testing outside of its comfort zone.  While many use the word innovation as a bumper sticker, others put it to good use. And even if it's a flop, one must praise any brand that dares.

What do you think the future looks like in your space? Let us know here.

Oliver Lee Gutierrez
Product Design