Spear & Jackson – The MCA Management Awards 2006

Executive summary

Spear & Jackson is the UK’s oldest tool manufacturer. Within an industry under significant pressure from overseas competitors, the company was operating its wood saw division at a loss, on a turnover of just £675,000.

Despite a highly traditional market, where the new is often rejected over the tried and trusted, in 2004 Spear and Jackson successfully launched a new wood saw at more than twice the price of its closest competitor.

In order to achieve this, Spear & Jackson had tasked Propaganda with turning the wood saw division around. So we conducted in-depth research to gain real understanding of the industry and its consumers, to guide new product development, and to create a compelling proposition to take to market. The result was the Predator saw.

The new saw has improved Spear & Jackson’s market share by over 10%. Sales are up by 200%, the division’s turnover is now almost £3 million, and headcount has increased – but only by 75%, maximising margins. Consumer demand created the opportunity to introduce a further four saws within the series, and led to a capital investment of £350,000 to facilitate expansion.

“In a sector not known for dynamic marketing, where cost-cutting is seen as the most effective solution to profitability, it was a political risk to bring in consultants with a different approach. However, Propaganda’s Discovery process and ability to unearth real industry and consumer insights ensured that while the strategy was seen as unconventional, it was always grounded in fact. This minimised our risk and enabled us to develop a new product range and a campaign strategy. The result delivered by Propaganda defied the state of the market, and turned Spear & Jackson’s wood saw operation around.”

Derek Thomas, marketing director, Spear & Jackson

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