There’s nothing like a great story. When told right, a story allows the reader — or in our case, the consumer — to paint a clear picture in their mind of the subject matter at hand. A perfectly crafted brand story evokes feelings of familiarity, desire, or even joy.
Attendees of the past two PrimeTime shows in Phoenix and Nashville were guided through the Shopper Decision Journey, much of which can be influenced by the story that a brand has crafted and placed throughout different parts of that journey.
GE Appliances (GEA) has worked especially hard over the past several years to develop a clear and concise narrative for the four largest brands that exist under its umbrella — GE, GE Profile, Café and Monogram. Each brand has its own story. And, further, each has its own intended target consumer.
Todd Getz, executive brand director for GE and GE Profile, was a recent guest on the Independent Thinking Podcast where he shared some insights into the different brand story paths and how GEA has worked to develop them. While each brand’s story exists independently, as Getz explains, they each work to support the overall mission of GE Appliances.
Understanding that mission, and the brand stories, can make selling GEA’s product that much easier for the Independent retailer.
Independent Thinking: Before we dive into the business, tell us a little bit about yourself. Who is Todd Getz, what’s your background and what brought you to GE Appliances?
Getz: Sure. So, I started out my career doing sports marketing for Coca-Cola in Atlanta where I went to college. Sports marketing really interested me, and then working for Coca-Cola, I kind of became more interested in brand management and the marketing side. So, I ended up going to business school at Indiana, which was a great experience. From there, I ended up back in Cincinnati, where I’m from, working for Procter & Gamble where I just learned an incredible amount. I spent a few years there, then moved to Colgate Palmolive, a very strong competitor, which was very interesting. And I spent about 12 years there before moving to GE Appliances, and I’ve been here for the past four years.
All along, I’ve done base business, innovation, shopper marketing and just had a lot of great business experiences. There’s always been a lot of collaboration with retailers and customers at every stop, which, as you know, this is a very commercialoriented role. So, it’s exciting to be able to take all those different experiences and knowledge and apply it to what we’re doing here.
To that end, what are some of the things that you’ve learned along the way that you’ve been able to carry into your role at GEA?
I think the thing you learn is, it’s just always thinking around your consumer or your shopper, and what are they interested in. One of the good learnings is always kind of as a marketer is, you’re not the customer. You, of course, want to build your products and your story around what your consumer wants. At the same time, you have to think about your retail partners. The independent retailer is the gatekeeper to our consumer, which makes it imperative that we have a strong balance within that relationship. Ultimately, that balance is what creates the best experience for the customer.
I can speak to GE and Profile, but I think as a company we’ve done a great job with Monogram and Café as well. The GE consumer wants different things than the Profile consumer and there’s no better or worse. They’re just different, and how do you craft the product and the story so that you can give each of them what they want? I think that’s really been a key part to our success.
Dive a little deeper into that. What is the difference between those consumers, in the eyes of GE Appliances? And how can the retailer best leverage those different brand stories when selling your product?
We try to have brands that really hit the needs of different consumers. And so, it starts with our core GE brand business. That really goes after that mass market consumer. They want trust, they want quality, they want dependability, they want features, but they don’t need every feature under the sun. We have GE Profile that is targeted towards somebody that really does want more of those innovative features and technology.
Then with Café, we really lean in on style and design. It’s just been incredible to see what the Café brand has done and the choice and that personalization that’s possible. That’s something that the Café consumer is really interested in. That doesn’t mean that they’re not interested in features and technology. It’s just that style and design are the main drivers.
And, of course, we have Monogram, which targets the luxury space and that top-tier, high end consumer.
With all four brands, what you see is that GE Appliances as a company targets and meets the needs of a lot of different consumers rather than just a one-shot-fits-all kind of model.
Following the evolution of each of those brands and their stories has been really cool from our seat. But we know that certainly a lot of work goes into crafting each of those stories. Can you shed some light on what that work has been like?
It starts with just the mindset of being in a company with a leadership that’s set a really good vision for growth. We want to be more aggressive in the marketplace, but at the same time I think our messaging and our relationships with the Independent retailer and with our customers has always been one of the top focuses of the company. It’s something we pride ourselves on. No matter how much we drive growth, it’s a cornerstone of the company.
The last few years have been bumpy, but I think people would recognize that we have really tried to maintain that focus with the customers in helping serve them. Obviously, everyone’s aware of just some of the challenges. We’ll get through it, but those tough times are really where you see what people are made of, right? For us, focusing on growth and how we think around the brands, that’s given us the time just to continue to build our brand story to be as strong as possible for each of those consumers.
The work on the brand story itself, we’ve been focused on evolving, but we know that sort of change can’t happen overnight. By doing the right things for the business it’s really helped us as we continue to move forward. Right now, we’re continuing to really drive more around the message of innovation and all the great new products and the exciting technology that we have. It’s been rewarding to see the progress and the growth across all our product lines.