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“I don’t have an opinion. I don’t know their rebranding strategy.”

That’s the answer I usually give when someone asks me what I think of a high-profile rebrand, such as the 2016 rebrand of Uber and last year’s rebrand of Accenture and Mozilla. Of course, I always have my personal, visceral reactions to some rebrands, but for the most part, what do my personal opinions matter?

As for my professional opinions, one can argue that those may matter; however, only in the presence of the company’s rebranding strategy. Rebranding doesn’t or shouldn’t happen out of boredom, but rather, out of some experienced, expected, or desired change in the business, market, or customers’ needs. How can anyone judge a rebrand if they do not know what it was intended to do?

JennAir is providing us with a great case in point. According to a profile from our friends at Brandchannel, the JennAir rebranding strategy is intended to address a specific market trend. As JennAir marketing director Jon Hall told Brandchannel:

“Bound By Nothing [campaign] was born out of consumer insight that the luxury category has become a stale and stagnant, yet the super-premium audience craves more—personalization, uniqueness, and something they can truly call their own.”

In my opinion, the work is good. It’s very good. Bold, emotional, and, most importantly, entirely unlike any other brand marketing in its class.

In their press release, Whirlpool President for North America Joe Liotine goes a bit further:

“JennAir is driving the luxury appliance category and the Whirlpool Corporation forward with provocative design, masterful execution and exceptional performance that unapologetically challenges convention…This is evident in the unmistakable edge found in every detail of its disruptive design, unparalleled quality, impeccable performance and frictionless connectivity.”

Side note, would someone please hire a hitman to take out the word “disruptive” already? Eesh, enough. Anyway…

Before we go on, let’s take a look, shall we?

What we can learn from the JennAir rebranding strategy.

Most would agree that the work checks off the all-important goal of evoking a competitively differentiated, emotional connection. But is it a relevant and competitively differentiated connection?

Is it too different? Does it push the envelope too far? After all, we’re halfway through the video before we see an actual stove. Plus, none of those people look like they eat, much less cook!

That could very well be true; however, here’s the kicker: they’re not selling to cooks. They’re selling to designers and architects who are looking for style first, backed up by enough substance to have legitimacy. Consider, for example, that they are launching the brand at the 2018 Architectural Digest Design Show (ADDS) in New York this week. Architecture and design. Not cooking and baking.

What can we learn from their rebranding?

First, we have to know what and to whom we are selling to our customers. JennAir is selling personal statements, predominantly to architects and designers. Brilliant.

Before you begin developing your rebranding strategy, be certain you know exactly how to answer those questions.

— Douglas Spencer

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