Here’s a newsflash: building products are not at the center of consumers’ lives.
People don’t think about appliances, windows, and flooring all the time. Even when they’re actively shopping for these items, audiences don’t think their quality of life will be drastically affected by the superior features and benefits of one product over another.
Products are not at the center of consumers’ lives. Life is. This is true of any product category, and the sooner marketers understand that concept and embrace it, the better they can communicate with consumers.
One brand that clearly understands this is Whirlpool in their Care Counts campaign.
Laundry is an Act of Love
The basis for the Care Counts campaign, which Whirlpool launched a few years ago, was the surprising revelation that many underprivileged kids go to school wearing dirty clothes. Even more surprising was the correlation between clean clothes and achievement in school.
If you’re wearing clean clothes, you naturally feel more confident… and are more apt to pay attention and learn more. So Whirlpool started donating washers and dryers to schools in underprivileged areas.
And it seems to be working.
That’s certainly a nice initiative that aligns well with Whirlpool’s product offering. But the real power of this campaign goes deeper.
It’s based on an understanding of how customers view their products. Whirlpool seems to understand that their primary customers — parents — buy home appliances, not because they love the styling and the features.
But because they need to get things done. Period.
The primary job of any parent is to raise one or more children. It’s a job that lasts some 20 years or more. And is filled with challenges and triumphs, tears and laughter, sleepless nights and lots of memories.
It also involves countless loads of laundry, dirty dishes, and prepared meals.
Actually, not countless. Whirlpool counted each and listed them on their website, noting for example that it takes 7,488 loads of laundry to get a child through to high school graduation.
Every one of those loads of laundry is an act of love. Even if it feels more like an obligation, or a thankless task at the time.
Through their website, Whirlpool is celebrating the hard work and achievements of parents… as they celebrate the achievements of their children. They’re demonstrating an understanding that appliances are just a tool parents use to run a household and raise a family — and that the important things are — the moments and memories that happen along the journey.
On the site, there is little mention of product features and benefits. Instead, they have stories that show the trials and tribulations of parenthood. They seem to be speaking directly to their customers, letting everyone know that they understand.
Through this campaign, Whirlpool is acknowledging that they appreciate parents.
Even the ones who can’t afford their products. Which brings us back to the Care Counts campaign.
We love this campaign, not because it’s altruistic, authentic, and well-aligned with Whirlpool’s brand… although it is all those things.
We love it because it’s based on a solid understanding of their customers and what’s important to them. And what’s important to them is not washers and dryers. Instead it’s about raising families.
Whirlpool knows their place in their customers’ lives, and they’ve embraced it without trying to make themselves appear any more important than that.