NEW YORK— Sensio’s recent introduction of the Bella Dots line of kitchen appliances reflects a new strategic approach to brand and product development for the company, one aimed at introducing the Bella brand to a new generation of consumers.
In unveiling the first three appliances in what will evolve into a multi-category brand statement Sensio is expanding beyond its roots in novelty, entertaining and private label appliances to create a new identity for the Bella brand and communicate that identity to the emerging generation of Millennials.
Millennials, currently defined as individuals between 10 and 29 years old, are the second largest generational group in the United States, and are on track to become the largest, according to Albing International Marketing (AIM), a leading researcher in Millennial lifestyle trends.
AIM notes that Millennials today control over $350 billion in purchasing power on their own, and hold an additional $1 trillion in total purchasing influence, making this an attractive demographic for product and brand marketers.
In developing its new Bella Dots collection, Sensio has taken a strategic approach to targeting this increasingly influential consumer group; one that addresses not only their style and purchase preferences, but also the way they communicate with each other and the world at large. For example, one of the key elements of the new Bella Dots collection is the range of colors—nine in all— that are being made available right out of the gate. The goal, according to Shae Hong, founder and CEO of Sensio, is to address Millennnials’ desire for personal expression by giving them a broad range of color options from which to choose.
This is just one element in the company’s new more strategic and consumer-centric approach to brand and product development. “This is the start of us really executing, in a 360-degree way, the strategy we have for the brand whether that’s in product development, marketing through social media or through some very exciting new packaging designs,” Hong told HOMEWORLD BUSINESS®.
The company is also looking to target Millennials through its marketing communications, which will encompass a broad range of interactions through social media as well as the development of specific apps to educate and inspire both current and future purchasers. For current Millennials, the company has developed a type of crowdsourcing app that provides recipes and allows users to provide feedback and comments. A separate app, aimed at the next generation of consumers, is a baking game that targets children ages two to six, growing numbers of which are cooking and baking alongside their parents in the kitchen.
Sensio is also looking to give Bella Dots a distinct look, both in product and packaging, turning to fashion, jewelry and accessory trends for design inspiration. This influence is reflected in the “dot” design worked into each product as well as the sleek, contemporary silhouettes of the products themselves. It is also reflected in product packaging, which makes liberal use of colorful dots as an accent to the packages’ clean white background and also shows consumers the product in its full range of colors on side panels.
“If you look at many of the current electrics on the market there’s a lot of stainless that all looks very similar,” Hong said. “We wanted to come to market with something that was unique and that grabs the consumer’s attention on the selling floor.”
The goal, he explained, is to turn basic appliances into an impulse purchase, drawing consumers to their bright, colorful look whether they entered the store looking to purchase that product or not. Even the first products chosen to carry the Bella Dots brand— a coffeemaker, slow cooker and toaster— were chosen with Millennials in mind.
“For people who are setting up their first home or first apartment we wanted to give them something they can identify with; something that reflects their individual sense of style,” Hong said.
The focus on the offering of branded product in core appliance categories also, in some ways, reflects a new direction for Sensio, which historically has built its appliance business around novelty and entertaining electrics on the branded side, often offering core electrics categories on a private label basis.
“The future of our business is the core appliance business,” Hong said. “When we think about getting that consumer for a lifetime it’s going to start with those core purchases to build that brand connection.”
The Bella Dots line is scheduled to launch exclusively at Target stores nationwide on September 9, with a limited in-store offering of colors in pearl, white and red. That will be supplemented by a complete color offering available through Target.com, which rolls out August 9.
The line will rollout to additional retailers beginning in 2013 along with non-electric offerings in categories from Sensio’s Bella partners encompassing cookware, tabletop accessories, kitchen tools and gadgets planned for spring 2013.