Swiss Army Knives are one of the most well-known products in the world, a highly regarded brand generally recognised as having the best quality pocket knives in the world. MacGyver used a Swiss Army knife in practically every episode to get out of situations. Creator of MacGyver, Lee David Zlotoff says, “there’s no substitute for a Swiss Army Knife.” macgyver Swissarmy

There is a reason why the company behind the Swiss Army Knife – Victorinox – continue to maintain their reputation after being in business for over 130 years and develop innovative products that are highly sought after.

They listen to their niche markets.

Victorinox makes 35,000 knives each day – indeed the Swiss Army still carry the Swiss Army knife by Victorinox today. However the company has had it dark times.

In the wake of 9/11, sales of the Swiss Army knife dropped by almost 30% due to industry wide ban on carrying knives and pocket tools onto any flight, domestic or international. Instead of crumbling under this unforseen external threat, Victorinox responded by producing Swiss Army knives without knife blades – a flight version if you wish. They also relied on their extensive product diversification platform and listened to their customers to create a specific Swiss Army knife for a range of niche markets.

For bike riders there is the Bike Swiss Army Tool, a Golfers Swiss Army Tool includes a tee punch and ball marker and the Skipper Swiss Army Tool is a must have for all yachtsman and boating enthusiasts.

This might seem like small markets to go after, but its these niche markets where, if you provide a specific solution to meet their specific problem – like the Skipper Swiss Army tool to undo ropes and shackles - you will have a very loyal audience who are you most fanatical brand advocates.

Victorinox have also branched out into producing luggage and clothing – a good example of diversification. Now almost 50% of total sales are from newer product categories.