linked in facebook twitter rss

  • Interbrand
  • Brandchannel

your chance!
your chance!
Also of interest
 

Kenmore


  Kenmore
A classic appliance brand gets a makeover
by Barry Silverstein
September 17, 2010

There was a time in the annals of American retailing when Sears ruled the universe in both mail order and store sales. While that era is long gone, the venerable Kenmore brand, originally associated with Sears, has maintained its independent leadership position in household appliances.

First introduced on a laundry appliance in 1927, the brand name “Kenmore” is thought to have originated from Kenmore Avenue, one of Chicago’s prominent streets — but even the Sears archives can’t confirm that story.

 
 

One thing is certain, however: The brand’s awareness factor is legendary. Today, more people in the United States buy Kenmore than any other appliance brand, one in every three American homes contains a Kenmore appliance, and Kenmore ranks number one or number two in every major appliance category.

Considering the evolution of household appliances since the 1920s, and the intense competition from such equally well-known brands as Frigidaire, Maytag, Whirlpool and, more recently, LG, it is nothing short of remarkable that Kenmore has retained its brand position. Even its rivals know the unshakeable power of the brand — Frigidaire, LG and Whirlpool all manufacture products that are sold under the Kenmore name.

But Kenmore has not rested on its laurels; as recently as April, the company announced that it would effectively reinvent itself, introducing a stunning 450 new and/or improved products across all of its large and small appliance lines throughout 2010. This followed on the heels of a revised Kenmore logo in late 2009, and an updated website and new television commercials early in 2010.

The trick, of course, is to modernize the brand while retaining and enhancing its long-standing reputation. According to Kenmore, that involves four primary areas:

1. “Premium customer touch points,” such as higher quality handles and knobs that are both elegant and ergonomic.

2. “Premium technology,” including user-friendly interfaces such as color-touch LCD displays that are advanced but intuitive and easy to use.

3. Streamlined modern design.

4. New logo and custom font, as well as a new sound palette on select products.

In early August, Kenmore announced an additional innovation called Kenmore Connect, a technology designed to speed up appliance repairs. Kenmore machines with problems have the ability to transmit data over a toll-free phone line for review by company representatives. Some problems can be handled via phone, but Kenmore expects that the system will also help reduce the time a technician spends when a repair visit is required. Kenmore Connect will be added to appliances priced over $800 at no additional charge.

Product design isn’t the only area getting a miracle makeover. The company is engaged in new, innovative ways of self-promotion. In March, for example, Kenmore launched an interactive “Kenmore Live Studio” in Chicago. The studio is equipped with cameras that broadcast video via the Internet and includes demonstrations by chefs, presentations, and unveilings of new products that can be shared in real time on the brand's Facebook page.

The Kenmore Live Studio was opened in a former art gallery, and Kenmore products are displayed in keeping with the artsy style. The Studio includes an Internet Café, the “Kenmore Soap Box,” where visitors can go on camera to talk about the brand, and a “Stain Station,” where kids are invited to shoot colored dyes at the brand’s mascot.

In an interview with Brandweek magazine, Betsy Owens, Kenmore vice president and general manager, said “even great brands like Kenmore need to adopt and adjust and reinvent themselves periodically, and that is really what we’re doing.”

Of the new ads, Owens says, “The Kenmore ads are about establishing brand awareness and creating that awareness around the new products — the new innovations and new styles.”

As for the use of online advertising, she says, “One thing about Kenmore is it’s always been such an accessible brand to so many Americans. We saw that as an opportunity to use real people as our brand ambassadors, so [in our online advertising], you’ll see not only the people behind Kenmore — the engineers and the product designers — but you’ll also see us using real consumers and capturing their stories about Kenmore’s past, present and future.”

Clearly, all of the new activity surrounding the brand is a conscious effort to move Kenmore into the future. Owens says today’s Kenmore customer remembers that their grandmother and mother had Kenmore and they grew up with it, “but it doesn’t necessarily speak to who I am.” That’s why, says Owens, “we saw an opportunity to reach out to consumers with a more stylish product.”

Obviously, Kenmore is making a concerted effort to gain relevancy with a whole new generation of consumers.

 
     
  

Barry Silverstein has been a frequent brandchannel contributor since 2007. He has thirty years of advertising and marketing experience and is currently a freelance writer and marketing consultant. He founded and ran his own direct marketing agency and held executive positions with Epsilon, a leading database marketing firm and Arnold, a major ad agency. Silverstein is the author of three marketing books, including the McGraw-Hill book, The Breakaway Brand, which he co-authored with Arnold CEO Fran Kelly.

  
 commenting closed Add Social Bookmark bookmark  print
 suggest topic  recommend ( 6 )  email

  brandchannel profile archive   2011  | 2010  |  2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003  |  2002  |  2001
 
 
Dec 17, 2010 JanSport - Back in Style -- Barry Silverstein
  Going beyond the outdoor enthusiast market.
   
 
Dec 10, 2010 Cadbury’s Caramilk - Chocolate Tempation -- Renée Alexander
  Sinfully sweet treat draws flack from concerned parents
   
 
Dec 3, 2010 Howard Johnson - On the Road Again -- Barry Silverstein
  Symbolic of a bygone era, Howard Johnson’s restaurants dotted America’s highways through the middle of the 20th Century. How are they adapting?
   
 
Nov 19, 2010 V8 - Almost 80 and Still Making a Splash -- Barry Silverstein
  A grand old brand concocts new ways to reinvent itself.
   
 
Nov 11, 2010 Crystal Head - One Spooky, Outlaw Spirit -- Renée Alexander
  Comedian Dan Aykroyd pitches Crystal Head’s skull-shaped vodka bottle
   
 
Nov 5, 2010 Mark’s - New Name, Same Value to Canadians -- Renée Alexander
  Mark’s Work Wearhouse rebrands to simply “Mark’s” in Canada.
   
 
Oct 29, 2010 Biltmore - From Landmark to Brandmark -- Barry Silverstein
  If America had royalty, the Vanderbilts would qualify — and Biltmore is their legacy.
   
 
Oct 22, 2010 RedMoon - Pet Food Done Right -- Barry Silverstein
  Canada’s RedMoon creates custom pet food with a twist.
   
 
Oct 15, 2010 Clorox Green Works - Walking the Talk -- Sheila Shayon
  The #1 green cleaning brand in the U.S. aims to walk its talk.
   
 
Oct 8, 2010 Cuba - Still Sways to Che -- Renee Alexander
  The halo effect of Che Guevara on Cuba’s brand is still strong.
   
 
Oct 1, 2010 North Dakota - RU Legendary? -- Renee Alexander
  One of the smallest states in the U.S., North Dakota can't boast famous landmarks, but makes a big splash via smart branding and social media savvy.
   
 
Sep 24, 2010 Corning - Clearly an innovator -- Barry Silverstein
  How Corning brand became recognized for its leadership and innovation.
   
 
Sep 10, 2010 Pinkberry - Seize the Whirl -- Sheila Shayon
  Brandchannel interviews Pinkberry CEO Ron Graves about how the brand is ramping up across America and internationally.
   
 
Aug 27, 2010 Sleeman - Notoriously Brewed -- Renee Alexander
  Sleeman Breweries may be owned by Japan's Sapporo, but it's proud of its "notorious" Canadian heritage.
   
 
Aug 20, 2010 Social Twist - Bring Your Friends -- Sheila Shayon
  Social Twist aims to turn social media into social marketing through the lens of trust and referrals.
   
 
Aug 13, 2010 Kit Kat - Extending Sweetness -- Barry Silverstein
  Kit Kat has mastered the art of line extension – the practice of producing many variations of the same brand in the same category – perhaps to the point of absurdity.
   
 
Aug 6, 2010 Sezmi - Personalized TV, at Your Service -- Sheila Shayon
  In a rapidly evolving era when U.S. cable and satellite operators are competing fiercely to deliver personalized, portable TV, Sezmi offers a fresh alternative at a fraction of the cost.
   
 
Jul 30, 2010 Stella Artois - Premium Chic -- Yew Fei Chan
  With a stylish branding campaign and a new label, Stella Artois Black, Stella Artois is upping the stakes in its bid to make the brand the sophisticates' bewitching cold brew of choice.
   
 
Jul 23, 2010 Alibaba - Online Riches -- Barry Silverstein
  Alibaba.com, the Chinese business-to-business global trade platform that went public in November 2007 with a record-breaking IPO, continues to break down barriers.
   
 
Jul 16, 2010 ngmoco:) - Playing Games -- Barry Silverstein
  From the name of the company to the mobile games it makes for the iPhone and other smartphones, ngmoco:) seems to be functioning in an alternate universe.
   
 
Jul 8, 2010 Chantecaille - Nature's Beauty -- Chan Yew Fei
  The Chantecaille brand, and family, bring their passion for nature and the environment to their global beauty business.
   
 
Jul 1, 2010 TMZ - Hollywood Insider -- Robyn Schechter
  Celebrity scandal and gossip is a thriving industry -- here's why the TMZ brand is enjoying a reputation for being the industry leader.
   
 
Jun 25, 2010 Honest Tea - Leaves You Feeling Refreshed -- Barry Silverstein
  Honest Tea came from humble roots to become President Obama's favorite tea, and become part of the Coca-Cola stable of beverage brands
   
 
Jun 18, 2010 Canon - Picturing a Future Beyond Cameras -- Barry Silverstein
  While many consumers still know Canon for its legacy cameras, perhaps even more recognize the name from the company’s other products, which include calculators, scanners, office copying machines, computer printers, LCD projectors, and medical equipment.
   
 
Jun 11, 2010 IV-7 - The Next Generation of Germ Defense -- Sheila Shayon
  As the BP oil spill and Gulf Coast disaster continues to grip the headlines, public debate about our increasingly toxic environment and the efficacy and safety of disinfectant products continues to rage. Enter IV-7, a new non-toxic disinfectant.
   
 
Jun 4, 2010 BYD - Driving China Electric -- Barry Silverstein
  As Chinese brands continue to grow on a global scale, brand names previously known only within China’s borders are now generating worldwide awareness. BYD is one such company, having risen from relative obscurity to a brand that has caused quite a stir because of its new electric car, the e6.
   
 
May 28, 2010 Acupuncture Records - China’s Piercing Electronic Music Brand -- Laura Fitch
  Acupuncture Records promotes China’s alternative music to the world
   
 
May 21, 2010 Crocs - Back in Style -- Shirley Brady
  Crocs are back in style
   
 
May 14, 2010 Red Mango - Finally, Frozen Yogurt Done Right -- Dale Buss
  Red Mango, frozen yogurt done right
   
 
May 7, 2010 Habbo - virtual mall -- Shirley Brady
  Habbo, which bills itself as the largest virtual world for teenagers, boasts more than 16.5 million unique visitors and a selling proposition for brands.
   
 
Apr 30, 2010 HTC - on call -- Barry Silverstein
  HTC has become renowned as a high-tech brand and innovative company of firsts.
   
 
Apr 23, 2010 AirAsia - high flyer -- Barry Silverstein
  Malaysia's discount airline is also Asia’s fastest growing airline.
   
 
Apr 15, 2010 PBS - broadcasting with purpose -- Barry Silverstein
  The public’s trust in PBS may help save journalism.
   
 
Apr 7, 2010 Eno - eno-ough? -- Laura Fitch
  Eno builds grass roots franchises in China.
   
 
Mar 31, 2010 Dos Equis - most interesting? -- Renée Alexander
  Dos Equis sheds Mexican stereotypes for “interesting.”
   
 
Mar 25, 2010 Barilla - pastability -- Barry Silverstein
  Barilla cooks up old school pasta with modern marketing.
   
 
Mar 17, 2010 Madécasse - rich -- Barry Silverstein
  How Madécasse is putting Madagascar on the branding map.
   
 
Mar 10, 2010 Bacon Salt - kosher -- Barry Silverstein
  Bacon Salt adds flavor to a new brand category.
   
 
Mar 4, 2010 E*TRADE - oh baby -- Barry Silverstein
  E*TRADE doesn’t kid with your money.
   
 
Feb 24, 2010 Bruegger’s - dough boys -- Barry Silverstein
  Bruegger’s brand rises to the challenge.
   
 
Feb 17, 2010 Windborne Music - progressive rock -- Robyn Schechter
  Windborne Music’s unique brand of rock symphony.
   
 
Feb 10, 2010 Barnes & Noble - booking it -- Barry Silverstein
  Why Barnes & Noble is an epic branding story.
   
 
Feb 3, 2010 Kashi - on a mission -- Barry Silverstein
  How Kashi helps itself by saving the world.
   
 
Jan 27, 2010 ASICS - runner up -- Barry Silverstein
  How ASICS keeps pace with bigger shoe brands.
   
 
Jan 20, 2010 Hudson’s Bay Company - medals? -- Renée Alexander
  How the Hudson’s Bay Company will compete at the Olympics.
   
 
Jan 13, 2010 5-Hour Energy - powered up -- Barry Silverstein
  5-Hour Energy overpowers the competition.
   
 
Jan 6, 2010 Cesar Millan - fetching? -- Barry Silverstein
  Why Cesar Millan is leader of the pack.