We were recently given a chance to talk to Goodman’s Commercial Director, Christian Corney for an exclusive interview. Goodmans are of course one of the better known British Companies in the world, with their presence both in the history as well as the modern audio scene.
Following is our interview with him:
How would you describe Goodman’s role in the audio industry?
Our aim is to create well thought out, carefully considered products with the British consumer at the forefront of our thinking. We want to continue to build upon our reputation as a trusted, affordable brand that delivers products of real value with carefully considered design and a clever innovation.
Made in UK has disappeared from our high street in the last few decades, but is having a revival. How do you think Goodmans is playing a role in this?
I think made in UK is always going to be a challenge when you are trying to be competitive. Higher end brands with thick margins may be able to support final assembly in here but truly ‘made in UK’ is a difficult one.
However, we place real pride in delivering products that are truly designed in the UK. It is a fact of life products are made in Asia but we add our value through the design process which is carried out in the UK.
In working with real innovators from within the UK we add the intellectual creativity in to these products that lift them above the basic ‘off-the-shelf’ alternatives that are poorly conceived, designed and implemented.
What would you say is the main design philosophy at Goodmans?
Brilliantly Simple. It is our philosophy and our ‘leading idea’.
We strive to make products with integrity, no matter the price point, they have to represent great value with a carefully considered design approach that makes them both attractive and innovative.
A simple DAB radio, such as Pebble will retail for just £20 but will be incomparable with off-the-shelf alternatives. Through careful study of what consumers want from a simple radio, we have created a product with real values – simple design, reduced button count, intuitive UI, tactile feel, even reverting to the satisfying click of an analogue on/off control. All of this was because we sat down with our designers at the beginning to really assess how to create a product that meets the philosophy of brilliantly simple.
What would be a typical design cycle/considerations when a new product is developed?
Every Goodmans product is the outcome of careful thought that considers everything consumers actually want. We design in genuine ease of use, real value and innovation.
Firstly we’ll review our range to assess what can be learnt from our existing products, it could be anything from how we construct the speaker enclosure to the paper quality of the quick start guide – everything is considered. Recycling and reusing that learned experience from one product to the next is vital for continual improvement.
Then we’ll review the market and assess if there is a genuine need and how we can create a product that meets that need and solves a problem. Here we need to have our Brilliantly Simple innovative hook defined. If we don’t satisfy that criteria it is back to the drawing board.
Then we create a specification and sit down with our designers to commence the real design work. From there, it is rounds of sketches, reviews, 3d modelling, model making, manufacturing liaising,until we have something we can move to a genuine kick-off – which is where the hard work begins to ensure the vision becomes reality.
Goodmans focuses a lot on the vintage… why is that?
We do have a couple of products in the line-up which have a heritage feel but we don’t focus on vintage, these are more of a contemporary interpretation rather than a full blown retro respin.
For a heritage product to get through the design process it has to meet the same criteria as any other product. If we create a vintage radio we’ll not go down the leather, brass, olde worlde route, it is well trodden and of no interest.
HERITAGE is a good example of how we approach this, we took the traditional style but freshened up the look with a more relevant colour scheme – more ‘Mad Men’ than ‘Miss Marple’, more ‘Norman Foster’ than ‘Norman Wisdom’
Following from the last question, a lot of companies are reviving their old ‘original’ products with newer technology. Would you be bringing us some of the flavours of 1923 in the future?
Probably not from 1923, we don’t have any plans to re-introduce Bakelite! Goodmans heritage does start in 1923 and we are proud of our longevity and the agility and resourcefulness required to still be here.
For me our business is about recognising our values from that period and interpreting them for the future. Dusting off the back catalogue won’t help us do that but creating a clear and coherent strategy that embodies our values will.
How would Goodmans like to be known to the world?
Overall we’d like to be known for our innovation, honesty and integrity.
Our aim is for every product to shout about our brand and tell the story of our values. They have to be well made, deliver both great performance and value but contain a smart, little innovation that makes people glad they bought it and reminds them that we do consider them in our process.
Are there any plans to go beyond audio?
Yes. We firmly believe that if we deliver products that meet the philosophy of the brand that consumers will continue recognise Goodmans as delivering affordable, attractive, well considered products. If we can do that, we take those credentials into other categories where, as long as we continue to innovate and add value, our customer will believe in us and we will be successful.
How would you rate the current British industry, and the likes of Cambridge Audio, among many others ?
I admire any company, British or otherwise, that, rather than reject the changing world, swiftly recognises the new landscape and adapts to meet the changing demands it encounters. I think British industry is rightly recognised as achieving this through understanding where it fits in the value chain and excelling in that space, notably in creative thinking and innovative design. We hope that Goodmans can continue to do the same.
We’d like to thank Christian for this opportunity.