Each brand has a well-defined identity, with a specific values which are reflected in the product offering, features and design, as well as in appropriate communication mechanics.
We remain convinced that our balanced business model, combining profitable growth and a resolutely responsible approach, creates value for all and plays a full part in our contribution to better living in households around the world.
Our innovation concerns technology, marketing and design. For each new development, innovation at Groupe SEB is driven by pluridisciplinary teams.
Strategic marketing is at the root of innovation. It pinpoints challenges in the small household appliance market, analyzes consumer expectations and major social trends, and establishes and implements product policy.
This upstream market approach, aimed at gaining a full understanding of consumers the world over, is an essential cornerstone in the development of a needs-adapted product range. To that end, the strategic marketing teams, organized by business activity – be it small electrical appliances, cookware or professional equipment – rely on a range of tools. Every year, some 50 exploratory studies on 30 to 40 products are made to enhance our understanding of consumer expectations and markets. The strategic marketing teams harness this research to gain a firmer grasp of key current trends, establish a real-life view of how household equipment is used, and analyze the performance of the brands and their market share by category and product. Combined, these studies serve to identify needs yet to be addressed, opening up new avenues.
Equipped with detailed knowledge of consumers and markets, supplemented by close monitoring of existing and emerging technologies, strategic marketing is able to build an appropriate product range, either “global”, meeting universal needs, or targeted, with products adapted to the specifics of a market or a consumer profile, around the world.
The Consumer Insight & Market Intelligence department, based at Groupe SEB’s global headquarters, supports the Group’s innovation process and the strategic marketing teams in each phase in product creation. Upstream, it conducts studies on trends, ethnographic interviews done at home, usage and attitude tests, and concept tests. It may then be involved in the various development phases, performing design and advertising tests, as well as research and tests on product names. The department has also become more active in social listening in recent years. Social listening consists in constant monitoring and “listening” to conversations on social networks to gather information, analyzing the data provided by users.
It has also created SEB & You, a proprietary digital insight community present initially in France that organizes digital conversations with our consumers, the aim being to gain a firmer grasp of their expectations, assess new products ahead of launch, and innovate via co-creation forums. The department adapts continuously to the digital revolution in the field of consumer knowledge and takes stock of new data-related challenges such as social listening, data marketing, and the international development of Seb & You.
Research on a major innovation in personal care: Body Partner connected bathroom scales
This project began with an exploratory qualitative phase and a review of the bathroom scale segment, which served to update the most recent consumer expectations of weighing scales and led to an initial concept. The appeal of the concept along with an initial prototype were tested qualitatively and refined, on the basis of which the product specifications were drawn up and technical development initiated. A quantitative study was then conducted to quantify purchase intentions and identify the most interested consumer targets. At the end of the development phase, the product was tested at home before market launch to validate product operation and user satisfaction. Lastly, communication and packaging visual tests were made to refine the positioning and the communication components.
R&D determines the technological building blocks necessary to the real-life development of the product. It brings a fine scientific and technological answer to needs expressed by the marketing teams and guarantees the feasibility of projects and processes... to always better meet consumer expectations.
The R&D teams have been significantly strengthened over the last few years, in terms of both employee numbers and employee qualifications, with the hiring of highly specialized engineers, for instance. These specialists bring expertise in cutting-edge fields such as coatings and materials, connected products, batteries, motors, food processing, sensors, etc.
In 2017, gross investment in R&D excluding CIR (research tax credit) and capitalization amounted to €138.5 million (€104 million in 2016).
READ OUR PAGE ON THE PROTECTION OF OUR INNOVATIONS
Because technological characteristics alone no longer make a decisive difference, and to win over consumers, design is central to the Group's innovation strategy, together with strategic marketing and R&D.
Looking beyond aesthetics, design is about product ergonomics and perceived quality. Design expresses the brand's identity through the product and its shapes, colors, materials and finish.
Our in-house designers focus on strategic activities and work together with our external designers and agencies or with schools to develop new concepts and extend their range of applications. In 2017, the Design team was enhanced by expertise from Hong Kong and Delhi, with a view to rolling out our global brands while preserving local specificities and pinpointing the actual use made of products.
In France, our designers are associated with the Master's in Marketing, Design and Creation of Ecole Centrale de Nantes, and the Master's in Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship and Art of Ecole de Management de Lyon and Centrale Lyon. The aim of this two-pronged internal / external approach is to strengthen our proficiency on trends. This nourishes the design of products and boosts their appeal by establishing the appropriate shapes, colors, materials and finish, optimizing man-machine interaction, and situating the product and brand in a coherent and consistent time frame, today notably through digital technology, at play both upstream and downstream of the process.
Wizzo, Air Force Ultimate, Tweeny and Evidence
Gamme eXperience de Tefal
The designers take part in innovation and brainstorming sessions "on the ground" as part of the SEB Lab. The SEB Lab helps designers to get a "breath of fresh air" and take design out of the office as part of a lab-style context of other skills, the aim being to foster constructive and ands-on sharing.