KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL

It is an occupational hazard that the simplest outings become exercises in brand naming gymnastics.  Consider a recent search for major kitchen appliances.

 

Ignoring the “Branded House” model for the moment, Uppercase identifies two brand buckets and notes an interesting truth which should not be lost on brand stewards.

 

The first bucket contains the journeyman brands found at the the big boxes that command low to medium price points: Fridgidaire, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, GE, Electrolux, Hotpoint.

 

Note that these brands have names that are all descriptive.  Some more evocative than others, but to varying degrees are all descriptive of some aspect of their functionality.  The upside is that they telegraph this, the downside is the inherent limitations.  We want a dishwasher that whirls a pool of water around, but will take more convincing that whirling water inside the refrigerator is positive imagery.  We want our freezers to have frigid air but maybe not so much our dishwashers.

 

Consider the second bucket.  High-end, expensive badge-brand names including Wolf, Dacor, and Viking suggest nothing about their form or function but through product performance, pricing, channel selections and marketing evoke imagery consistent with the emotional benefits they provide.  These names mean what the owners want them to mean.  They are empty vessels.  They are not limited in their expansiveness.

 

One way is not better than the other.  But they are different.  And they offer an excellent case study for innovators considering brand names for their new company or product.