Whirlpool

Twisthink and Whirlpool worked together to create the first player of a comprehensive new VBL and portfolio strategy for the ProLine Countertop Appliance Portfolio. 

 

Challenge

As kitchens have evolved into the most popular congregating room the home, the appliances that go into them have also evolved. Large appliances like the refrigerator and range are an integral part of the decor and and must bring visual as well as functional value to meet new consumer demands. But what about smaller counter top appliances that are equally visible like the toaster? Whirlpool thought there was an additional market share to capture with a new high-end line of counter top appliances. And the toaster was the first product in what would become the KitchenAid Pro Line brand. 

“THIS TEAM ALWAYS DELIVERED THE HIGHEST QUALITY RESULTS ON TIME AND ON BUDGET. I ENTHUSIASTICALLY RECOMMEND TWISTHINK!”

-Paul Hurley, Global Manager, Whirlpool

Solution

Twisthink worked with Whirlpool to create the KitchenAid Pro Line Toaster, the first product of a new portfolio. This portfolio of products captures the classic look of the iconic KitchenAid stand mixer while encompassing new technologies and convenience features. 

Solution

Twisthink worked with Whirlpool to create the KitchenAid Pro Line Toaster, the first product of a new portfolio. This portfolio of products captures the classic look of the iconic KitchenAid stand mixer while encompassing new technologies and convenience features. 

Product and User Research

A toaster, like a stand mixer, occupies premium real estate on a kitchen counter top. It’s seen all day, every day. However, during our research, we saw that many people consider toasters so unsightly that they actually hide them when not in use. We saw this as a huge opportunity for differentiation. We were challenged to model and build a new design that is no longer hidden but could be proudly shown in any kitchen. With the new toaster vision clarified via high resolution product illustrations, the real work of conviction testing began. 

Product Design

Product Design

After our research with stakeholders of likes, dislikes, and wants of their current kitchen appliances Whirlpool’s new KitchenAid Pro Line was developed. The design and engineering teams created the desired product including many features to enhance the user experience. 

  • Full rounded forms to emulate the stand mixer’s classic look
  • A beautiful, glossy durable exterior finish that’s easy to clean
  • An automatic sensor that would lower and raise the bread
  • Extra wide slots to accommodate artisan breads and bagels
  • A “little while longer” button for additional browning
  • An automatic function to keep bread warm at the end of toasting
  • Defrost function for thawing frozen bagels and waffles
  • An LED timer light with audible “done” signal
  • Illuminated setting controls

 

Visual Brand Language 

The toaster was created as the first product of an entirely new portfolio. With its acceptance, the new Pro Line toaster became the portfolio’s icon for Visual Brand Language (VBL). Succeeding products include food processors, blenders, coffee machines and various hand-held tools. Strategy was critical to the development of these lines as consumer wants and expectations had to be met, if not exceeded. Guiding it all was the VBL that emanated from the humble toaster. Recognizing this achievement, the international design community named the Pro Line toaster a Sparks Award winner.

Outcome

The toaster was created as the first product of an entirely new portfolio. With its acceptance, the new Pro Line toaster became the portfolio’s icon for Visual Brand Language (VBL). Succeeding products include food processors, blenders, coffee machines and various hand-held tools. Strategy was critical to the development of these lines as consumer wants and expectations had to be met, if not exceeded. Guiding it all was the VBL that emanated from the humble toaster. Recognizing this achievement, the international design community named the Pro Line toaster a Sparks Award winner.

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