Consumers may know the Electrolux name thanks to appliances in their homes, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, washers, dryers, ranges, air conditioners, and vacuum cleaners sold under the brand names of Electrolux, AEG-Electrolux, Eureka, and Frigidaire. But Electrolux hopes to be known in the U.S. for other products, as well.
In 2007, the company decided to aggressively license its brands and established Electrolux Global Brand Licensing (EGBL). Today, the company has more than 100 licensees in 75 countries worldwide, with licensed products in categories such as telecommunications, power solutions, consumer electronics, and home-comfort products. EGBL is now making a strong push into the U.S. licensing arena with a focus on brand extensions.
“Electrolux is a global appliance giant and, traditionally, many of the licensees were putting the brand names on white goods [major appliances],” says Matthew Young, head of EGBL. “Recently the effort has moved toward brand extension with the result that names like AEG, Zanussi, Kelvinator, and even Electrolux itself can now be found on everything from televisions to toys.”
Young says that the most flexible brand for such extensions is the German brand AEG. Associated with high-end kitchen appliances, it has grown in other categories such as electric motors, power systems for solar panels, and telephones. “Very recently Electrolux continued extending the brand by signing an agreement with the German company SystemPartnerAutoteile GmbH to sell automotive parts under the AEG name,” Young says. EGBL also signed with IPT Mobile of Israel to sell mobile and DECT (digital enhanced cordless telecommunications) phones, as well as healthcare products, under the AEG brand name in Israel.
EGBL’s Zanussi brand has also been active in licensing. A multi-year, global agreement has been signed with HTI, a privately owned toy designer and manufacturer in the UK, to launch a new range of children’s roleplay toys.
The brands’ ability to successfully translate into such different categories than their core category offers U.S. licensees many opportunities. Before those opportunities can be tapped, however, potential licensees must be approved by EGBL. The company is very selective about the products and partners it chooses to work with in order to ensure quality and brand fit. The overall strategy for EGBL “is to build awareness and value for Electrolux, for our licensing partners, and for the consumers,” Young says.
As EGBL moves forward, its focus will remain on building the current base, growing the brands in the U.S., and extending the brands into different categories.