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Innovation is part of Groupe SEB’s DNA. A creator of value, it is a decisive differentiation factor on markets that are increasingly commoditised and gives the Group a competitive edge in relation to its competitors. It also serves as a lever for growth on international markets, whether it is used to invent breakaway products, unusual concepts or solutions and services that improve peoples’ daily lives. Illustration with Silence Force Extreme.

The strength of an innovation community

Following the success of the Silence Force range launched in 2007, a second generation was designed in 2011 to go even further and in particular to considerably reduce the level of noise for the consumer. The result of collaborative work between the Marketing, Research and Development and Design teams, the development of Silence Force Extreme met a precise strategic target: reassert the leadership of Rowenta as an expert brand in vacuum cleaners with a breakaway product that optimises the combination « best suction power and maximum reduction of the noise level » (reduction of 6db compared with the previous models). On this basis, a race for innovation began with permanent exchanges between the different stakeholders who made it possible to refine a set of specifications and to simultaneously pilot the development:

  • 1st stage: research is carried out upstream by the R&D teams based on technological building bricks (motorisation and acoustics) to define with the Marketing department the guidelines for the product design ;
  • 2nd stage: the development phase is implemented with considerably more in-depth work completed notably on the acoustics for a result that has never previously been achieved, that of 62 db, and economic and industrial framing (analysis of the value for cost optimisation, new materials such as specific joints and foam components, introduction of a painting process within the industrial site …) ;
  • In parallel, the Design department takes care of the ergonomic and aesthetic aspects by integrating the acoustic constraints. With help from an ergonomist, the accessories chain is revised for all the modes of use (a straight grip with three possible hand positions to choose from, an extension pipe and flexible hose that allows a good back posture). Research work on the codes, which with regard to aesthetics express both the technicity and the elegance of the product, but also the robustness (material effect through the paint, work on the perceived quality, reinforcement of the plastic parts) makes it possible to optimise the product benefits and the brand.

The ultimate stage then consisted of developing a range of six new differentiated models: the standard canister vacuum cleaner, the compact and the bagless vacuum cleaner.

  • A Golden Decibel (Organised by the French National Noise Committee and the Ministry of the Environment) for Silence Force Extreme for an unequalled acoustic performance: twice as silent
  • 10 patents and 15 years of research in acoustics

Progress innovation

Consumer expectations and the R&D and design scopes of achievement came together to rise to the challenge and give birth to breakaway innovation with evident progress in terms of dust removal (development of a new suction head) and an unequalled level of sound (a 6 db reduction in relation to existing products) but also in terms of ergonomics. Acoustics was the key point of this technological performance. It was necessary to innovate at all levels in order to make the air flow as smooth as possible inside the product. This necessitated the removal of aerolic turbulence and all the sources of noise at the level of the body of the device and the accessories (suction head, vibrations and intrinsic motor noise) by using absorbers according to the frequencies.

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Highly effective communication

The communication was modelled on the technical progress with the focal point being the noise level. The advertising message highlighted the novel idea that power can also be silent. The ad hence showed spectacular sound situations (the eruption of a volcano, a wave crashing against a lighthouse, the tire of a racing car crunching on asphalt, etc.) before presenting with amazing contrast the Silence Force Extreme vacuum cleaner in a very silent and Zen atmosphere. To enhance the impact, a European digital campaign, with a very off-beat tone created a buzz via a game where the Internet user had to reproduce the very low sound level of the vacuum cleaner. The point of sale communication was not forgotten either with a European launch kit that guaranteed a strong message on all of the media and consistency from one country to the next with a key visual: the finger over the mouth. A set of demonstrations, decisive for the actual purchase, completed the approach.

  •  1 million participants in the Silence Force Extreme game on the Web