Electrolux as a modern idea

The Electrolux Logo showed its age

Electrolux appliances
The Electrolux Logo showed its age

Electrolux is back in the news because Keith McLoughlin, CEO has resigned after the GE deal collapsed.

Electrolux updated logo
Electrolux Updated

Electrolux was in the throes of purchasing the appliance division of GE when the US Justice Department blocked the deal. Do you have any idea what has been going on with Electrolux recently?

The Electrolux canister vacuum
The iconic Electrolux

If you are like me, your memories of the Electrolux brand is limited to the old tubular canister vacuum cleaner that my grandmother favored. It was relatively small and was pulled around behind the vacummer on the floor on sled-like runners. What was once viewed as modern quickly looked dated as the old logo absolutely showed its age. If you asked me what else the company made beyond vacuum cleaners, I would be hard pressed to provide much of an answer.

Electrolux competition
It is a crowded field

However, the Swedish company has been on a rampage of new innovations in appliances— moving into the high-end markets dominated by Wolf, Viking, JENNAIR and BOSCH.

Electrolux Innovated

Electrolux scrapped its old logo, updated its graphics and decided to concentrate on the more lucrative kitchen appliance market. It is a crowded category to be sure but Electrolux pushed the envelope in design, features and ergonomics. However, if you asked consumers to name the top brands in kitchen appliances I fear the Electrolux would rarely been in the considered set (we always conduct research when working on brands and rebranding). They might buy the products when actively shopping for upgrades but it is a learned preference. One that comes only from hands-on comparisons. The brand itself is easily overlooked.

Electrolux kitchen appliances
Current Electrolux products are surprising

The reason for this consumer omission is in the name itself. While the logo and graphics have been updated the name is eponymous. As a result, it has a meaning that sounds like the 1940s. Electric Luxury. It piques the idea that electric is modern. The whole idea seems OLD. Only a few of us can remember mechanized carpet sweepers or hand powered hand mixers. Electricity is just a given and provides no space between Electrolux and the competitive set.

Electrolux expressionist collection
Clean and elegant design in today’s Electrolux

The ultimate success of this otherwise innovative company will be in trying to get us to forget the name’s meaning and accepting it as a whole. Electrolux needs us to leave emotional attachments behind and to forget what we already think we know.

The Electrolux brand took such major leaps in the stable of products and offerings that it carried forward very little in established brand equity. Had we been asked to rebrand the company during this monumental transition, I think we would have suggested a name change. Brand repair is a more difficult task then developing brand meaning.

Opportunity for Electrolux beyond acquisition

Its not too late. Rebranding the products would make the purchase of the GEs of the world a mute point. This forward-thinking brand could take that market share in its own right. No need to purchase the market. The brand itself could generate powerful preference on its own.

Below are more articles and blogs that you might find of interest.

Small Kitchen Appliances (Coffee makers)

Single Cup Coffee Makers

How to use your brand to increase preference

Is your coffee brand promise the right promise?

By Tom Dougherty

Small Kitchen Appliances and Coffee Makers

Mr_Coffee_Logo.svgSometimes, a company comes along that tries really hard to solidify its brand message in the respective marketplace. While we all might want to give them kudos for its hard work, we simply cannot allow ourselves if it’s not right. Often, despite its valiant efforts, companies are often still missing the branding target entirely. This often results in clichéd advertising or bland branding efforts (or worse, both).

Such is the case with Keurig’s latest television campaign. While thoughtful and simple, and one that contains all of the bells and whistles of a typical, plush coffee advertisement, Keurig has clearly missed the boat. And here is why.

Keurig and the coffee brand promise

First, let us think about the truly fantastic Keurig coffee-brewing machine. If you have never used one, these machines are sleek and metallic – a sturdy single cup coffee brewer. What’s more, the Keurig takes something called a K-Cup (or the Keurig-Cup), which is a small, vacuum-sealed pod of coffee.

keurigThese K-Cups come in 200 different varieties, featuring regular, iced and decaffeinated coffee blends, hot and iced teas, and hot chocolates to name a few, all produced by different companies (Tully, Green Mountain Coffee, Coffee People, etc.). Additionally, these K-Cups are fresh, and brewing them takes no time at all, seconds even. In fact, Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks have now introduced their own blends of K-Cups, recognizing their potential in the coffee industry. The market is getting huge, and it is shaping the way most of us have our coffee.

So, what makes the small kitchen appliance the Keurig Brewer and the K-Cup variety so very special? It’s easy. What the Keurig Brewer means to the consumer is a fantastic cup of coffee without the wait. It means quality, simplicity and speed. For the busy professional, those are massively important.

Is the K-cup the lead brand?

Dunkin-Donuts-Original-Blend-K-Cups-mdHere’s the problem. Keurig hasn’t recognized the importance of its product. Instead, with its latest advertising campaign, it has chosen to highlight the great variety of coffee pods (which is surely commendable), rather than the most important attribute brewing a K-Cup in a Keurig Brewer gives you, which is time.

Here is a snapshot of the campaign. We open on a handsome father looking around the kitchen, smiling at his daughter. He is at the family Keurig Brewer machine. Guess what he is doing? That’s right, happily making a cup of coffee for his wife. Not just any cup, the “perfect K-Cup.” A particular K-Cup of coffee that is her favorite blend. He gives her the cup of coffee and, as she has her first sip, all is great and wonderful with the world.

Keurig has rewritten the coffee maker category

Typical, isn’t it? We at Stealing Share find this type of work shameful. Why? Keurig is different and better than its competition, a powerful position to have in any marketplace, especially in one that isn’t letting up, like the coffee industry. Yet, its advertising and brand messaging is completely on the contrary. This is not revolutionary advertising (as is its product), but painfully mediocre work — rivaling the banal instant coffee commercials we have all come to hate. Worse yet, Keurig gains no ability to steal market share from its competition.

Based on this campaign alone, how is the small kitchen appliance represented through the Keurig brewer different from someone who uses a single, French Press coffee pot? Both maintain the ability to brewing a single cup of coffee with your bean blend of preference. And each makes a great cup of coffee.

The truth

However, truth be told, Keurig can make the same cup of coffee that a French Press can in about seven minutes less time. And it is just as good, if not better.

Now, isn’t that what’s worth celebrating?

We at Stealing Share fervently believe that such a message is worth celebrating. To steal market share, you must recognize what makes the customer who would prefer you different and reflect that. Advertising, such as the discussed Keurig campaign, is not great. Worse yet, this advertising does not steal market share and does not aid in Keurig’s advancement as a brand.

Visit Keurig by clicking here

 (Read about how to create preference in the packaged goods category here)