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Superbrands case studies: Black & Decker

In 1946 Black & Decker created the world's first portable electric drill for consumers, effectively creating what is now known as the DIY market. The brand has since gone from strength to strength, launching new products and creating new market categories including: consumer power tools, accessories and fixings, outdoor power tools, household cleaning products and more recently a new automotive and electronics range of tools.

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Black & Decker has the largest branded share within the categories in which it operates. This is a great achievement as there are many factors that affect the health of the DIY market -- from the state of the housing market and the performance of the economy, to weather conditions and the media.

The total DIY market has nearly doubled since 1998 from £4.9 billion to £8.1 billion (Source: GfK Marketing Services). Over the past couple of years, the DIY market has begun to stabilise and recent trends suggest that as DIY tasks become less cosmetic and start to become more like renovations, this trend will generate new growth in the market.


Black & Decker has won many awards both for its products and in recognition of its business operations. Most recently, it has been awarded the prestigious 'Best of the Best' Award in the 2007 DIY Industry Awards, highlighting and recognising its achievements over the past 20 years.

Black & Decker has also recently been awarded the Good Housekeeping Institute logo for the Dustbuster Pivot handheld vacuum cleaner -- this is a highly regarded division of the Good Housekeeping magazine which independently tests consumer products against competitors.

Furthermore, Black & Decker has been ranked as the number one DIY and household brand by the Superbrands consumer survey.

Black & Decker is a global manufacturer of power tools, accessories, household cleaning products, outdoor tools and more recently automotive tools. Over the 97 years since the company was first established, many other successful global brands have been acquired, expanding the Black & Decker portfolio.

Black & Decker uses the knowledge gained from extensive consumer research to create powerful and practical solutions that make it easier and quicker for people to achieve good DIY results. This process has led the company to being the number one brand in all of its core product groups (Source: GfK Marketing Services).

Black & Decker constantly strives to create everyday power tool solutions for consumers. Products launched over the years include the award-winning Mouse decorating tool, the Scorpion powered hand saw, the Workmate workbench and more recently the Laserplus self levelling laser level.

The launch of a complete range of patented self levelling lasers provided innovation that excited and grew the spirit level market. This created a new market for lasers -- in which Black & Decker are the number one branded supplier with 57 per cent share (Source: GfK Marketing Services MAT May 06 -- April 07).

Black & Decker leads the market with powerful and innovative tools, most recently the cyclonic action sander, new corded and cordless hammer drills and the Handi Saw -- a compact and convenient powered saw. Black & Decker's garden range includes hedge trimmers, grass trimmers, chainsaws, shredders and blower vacuums. Continuing with its innovative culture, Black & Decker launched the award-winning Alligator powered lopper in 2006, which combines the power and results of a chainsaw with the safety of a manual lopper. Black & Decker owns the sub-brand Strimmer, typically used to describe grass trimmers and has released its latest range with an innovative mid-mount design, ensuring balance and maximum comfort for the consumer. The outdoor range continues to expand its cordless offering, with new additions such as the cordless powered hoe, to help with soil maintenance and the powered sprayer which allows an easier application of water or fertilisers to plants.

For household cleaning, Black & Decker's Dustbuster handheld vacuum cleaner range, invented in 1979, has constantly been upgraded with improved technology, including cyclonic action. In 2006 Black & Decker launched the innovative Dustbuster Pivot vacuum cleaner with pivoting nose, allowing the consumer to reach into awkward spaces. 

Recent developments
Black & Decker has recently launched a new range of automotive tools, including battery boosters, jump starters, portable power and a selection of leisure products including lighting and travel coolers/warmers. This new range is aimed at people on the go, whether it be by car, boat or motor bike and consumers who enjoy outdoor activities, such as camping and fishing. Continuing with its innovative culture, Black & Decker has launched the first product of its kind: the Simple Start battery booster which charges a drained battery from inside the car within 15 minutes so you can re-start the engine with no assistance required from another vehicle, therefore delivering ultimate safety and security.

Ongoing market research has highlighted that consumers often get frustrated when trying to find the correct setting on their tools for a certain application. This is why Black & Decker has launched a new range of hammer drills and jigsaws which include Autoselect( technology: the consumer now only needs to select an icon of the application they require and the intelligent technology automatically adjusts the tool into the correct setting, eliminating guesswork.

A new range of innovative bagless cylinder vacuums have recently been developed by Black & Decker. The vacuum cleaners include unique self cleaning filter technology, which cleans the filter after every use, delivering maximum suction power every time. This leading technology has been approved by the British Allergy Foundation.

Black & Decker recognises the importance of successful communication plans when launching new products across all categories, therefore continually invests to drive the DIY market forward by focusing on all aspects of the marketing mix from TV, radio and online activity to best-in-class instore communication driven by a team of Field Marketing Executives. Black & Decker continues to heavily invest in TV and in 2007 will maximise brand exposure and sales through five TV campaigns during key periods.

In 2006 Black & Decker launched its most high performance range of cordless and corded hammer drills which featured on the Talk Sport Radio breakfast show, targeting over 1.9 million listeners. This campaign also communicated Black & Decker being the official sponsor of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli and the official technical tool supplier to Fiorano Ferrari which continues until the end of 2008.

Brand values
Black & Decker is a well-established brand that aims to help consumers to confidently get the best possible results from the tools they use, acting in a trustworthy way to deliver intelligent products for the home with the power and performance for any task.

Things you didn't know about Black & Decker

  • Black & Decker invented the first handheld power drill, the first cordless drill, the first consumer finishing sander and jigsaw, the first grass trimmer and hedge trimmer and the first cordless hand held vacuum cleaner.
  • Black & Decker is a global organisation marketing products in more than 100 countries worldwide.
  • Black & Decker developed a unique power head for the Apollo Lunar Surface Drill to remove core samples from the moon in the 1968 landing.
  • In 2005, Black & Decker advertised on television 10 times -- the greatest number of times by any power-tool manufacturer.
  • Black & Decker is an official sponsor of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli and official technical tool supplier to Fiorano Ferrari.
  • Black & Decker worked with Pierluigi Collina, one of the world's most recognised football referees, to maximise sales during the build-up to the football World Championship.

1910 Two young Americans, Duncan Black and Alonzo Decker, form their own manufacturing company with US$1200 initial capital.
1914 Black & Decker patents the first handheld power drill with a pistol grip, trigger switch and universal motor.
1946 Black & Decker introduces the world's first portable electric drill for consumers.
1962 The world's first cordless outdoor product, a hedge trimmer, is introduced.
1985 The Automatic Shut-Off Electronic Iron sets a new standard for iron performance.
2001 The Scorpion Powered handsaw hits the market and globally sells 800,000 units in its first year.
2003 An innovative range of patented self levelling lasers is launched.
2005 Sales of lasers exceed 150,000 and 160,000 Autotape automatic tape measures are sold.
2006 Black & Decker launch the Alligator(r) powered lopper, winning gold at the 2006 DIY Industry Awards.
2007 Black & Decker receive the 'Best of the Best' Award from the DIY Industry Awards. Autoselect -- a new innovation in cordless hammer drills and jigsaws -- is launched.

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