By David Gill
RICHMOND, Va.–Through its efforts to license the brand, the name Hamilton Beach could eventually be all over the kitchen—and in other rooms of the house.
That’s the goal of Hamilton Beach, the kitchen-electrics arm of NACCO Industries, and its licensing agency, Brand Sense Partners. The most recent fruit of this collaboration is a license agreement between Hamilton Beach and Starlight Marketing to create a line of kitchen-oriented consumer electronics. The product roster from this license includes a digital 15-inch LCD television, a digital recipe reader, a made-for-iPod docking station, a wireless speaker system with a made-for-iPod dock, and a kitchen timer and speaker.
Susan Watson, Hamilton Beach’s senior manager of strategic business development, said, “We focus on products that help consumers do more in the kitchen, and this new line provides entertainment as well as tools to make work in the kitchen a more pleasurable experience.”
“We’re excited about kitchen consumer electronics as a category,” said Ramez Toubassy, president of Brand Sense Partners. “It’s a big opportunity in the marketplace to provide functional consumer electronics for the kitchen, combined with Hamilton Beach’s knowledge of how women work in the kitchen.
“The trend we see is multitasking in the kitchen,” Toubassy added. “Typically, CE products are designed by men for men, but these are designed by women for women. They are practical and leading-edge.”
The Starlight products will make their way to mass and specialty retailers beginning in the fall, and a full-scale rollout will take place next year. Already appearing on the market is a line of cookware and gadgets under both the Hamilton Beach and Procter-Silex brands, manufactured by M.E. Heuck, which is also slated for a full-scale rollout in 2009.
Toubassy said the strategy for Hamilton Beach licenses is “to dominate the kitchen first. Other kitchen products we’re looking at is kitchen organization and major appliances. We feel compact refrigerators and wine coolers, in particular, are natural fits for the Hamilton Beach brand. We’re not looking at oven ranges yet.”
Once Hamilton Beach takes over the kitchen, it will be “logical” to explore products in other rooms, but that will take time, Toubassy said. “We’re very deliberate with the introduction strategy,” he said. “We’re still a year away from products for other rooms.”
Outdoor products are another opportunity. “We think there’s a big opportunity to bring a female perspective to outdoor cooking,” Toubassy said. “Women make a lot of the decisions on purchasing products, although men also participate in this.”
Licensing provides a growth vehicle for Hamilton Beach and other manufacturers in a difficult economic climate. “Growing through brand extensions and licensing is a very profitable way to grow,” Toubassy said. “It’s a way of breaking the low-growth cycle. Thoughtfully executed brand extensions are going to be more and more important for all brands.”