Engaging with retailers and consumers: Behind Electrolux’s Inspiration range

Electrolux's Lyndon Craig and Richelle Barker with chef Tetsuya Wakuda.

Electrolux’s Lyndon Craig and Richelle Barker with chef Tetsuya Wakuda.

After launching an ambitious pop-up ‘Inspiration Kitchen’ in Sydney over the weekend, Electrolux is now getting on with the busy work of rolling out its new Inspiration range of cooking appliances into retail stores across Australia.

Speaking about the new range, Electrolux Home Product’s senior brand and trade marketing manager, Sheila Walthoe, told Appliance Retailer that the new products were designed with consumers in mind.

“The range is about appliances that are designed for you; they’re intuitive appliances that are designed for how you want to cook,” said Walthoe. “It’s a very personal way of cooking. They’re not designed for a specific cook — it’s about how you want to cook, and they’ll give you consistent results.

“We take what we learn in the professional sphere, from professional kitchens in professional restaurants, and then we have a rigorous consumer insights program where we learn about how consumers use their products as well.

“We go into people’s homes, we watch how they use the products and we learn about what motivates them and how they use their products differently, and what occasions they use them. We really look at how they use their products, what their frustrations are and then we build that into the new products.

“It’s very interesting because you learn a lot about how people interact with their appliances and that’s really important, especially with this new range.”

With the Inspiration range set to be a major focus going into 2014, Electrolux opted for a unique launch to make an impact with consumers and retailers alike — a pop-up kitchen, set up in Sydney’s Centennial Park, which played host to a series of lunches, masterclasses and events featuring renowned Australian chefs, including Tetsuya Wakuda, Peter Gilmore and Richard Ousby.

According to Walthoe, Electrolux wanted a unique way to showcase the range.

“We looked at what’s happening in the market, and there’s a lot of noise out there and a lot of clutter. And we said, ‘We need to compete but we need to be smarter about how we compete’. Rather than just going down the traditional path of advertising and doing a broadcast message, which is just one-way, we thought, ‘How do we really engage people?’

“We’re asking what inspires people, it’s about engagement and getting people to give us their insight as well, which is really valuable to us to continue to deliver what the consumers are actually looking for.

“We’re giving people information and tips that are useful to them so that they then engage with the brand and have that experience with the brand and build that trust.

“It’s also a place where we’re bringing together all of the pieces of the Electrolux puzzle, like Eat Art Truck [a food truck that utilises Electrolux appliances], and [brand ambassadors] Tetsuya Wakuda, Peter Gilmore and Richard Ousby. It’s bringing together the assets of Electrolux…to build a real profile for the brand.”

While the four-day event comes off the back of a tough time for Electrolux — the company’s global head office recently announced the Electrolux factory in Orange, New South Wales, would close in 2016 — Walthoe said Electrolux still had to maintain a strong presence with consumers in the marketplace.

“With a brand you have to follow the strategy and you have to make sure that people are still engaging with the brand. We’ve always said [the decision to close the Orange facility] wasn’t a decision that was taken lightly — it was done with thorough investigation into the future of the business.”

While the Orange factory may be reaching the end of its life, Electrolux’s other Australian manufacturing facility in Dudley Park, Adelaide, has been strongly involved in the development of the new Inspiration range, with the factory’s R&D team playing an “integral” role in the design and development of the new products.

While selected retailers from The Good Guys, Harvey Norman and the Narta buying group had an opportunity to see the Inspiration range in-situ over the weekend, retailers across the country will start to see the products rolling out now, with Electrolux also committing to update the in-store displays that showcase the appliances in the coming weeks and months.

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