Why Sears Is Rebranding Kenmore

Sears Holding Corp. has undertaken a huge task: To completely revamp and relaunch approximately 450 Kenmore appliance models. The move is part of a larger effort for the home appliance brand, which is sold exclusively at Sears. Right now, the changes are rolling out on washing machines, and soon, on refrigerator units. Kitchen appliances will follow later this year. The goal is to contemporize Kenmore, an 83-year-old, iconic American brand, said Betsy Owens, Kenmore vp and general manager. Female consumers, primarily, saw Kenmore as a brand that their grandmothers and mothers bought, but that didn’t necessarily speak to them, Owens said. So to update the brand and its image, a new television, in-store and social media campaign was launched. The push also includes a new visual brand identity and a Web site, with features that speak to this modern female demographic. Despite the unstable economy, Owens said now is the perfect time for the rebranding and the related campaign. “We have a product for every pocket, and from a value [standpoint], the Kenmore brand is so aligned with where Americans are right now that I don’t think we could’ve picked a better time to do this,” she said. What follows are excerpts from Brandweek’s conversation with Owen, who further discussed the rebranding.