Just a few months ago, Electrolux Global Brand Licensing (EGBL) announced that it would be staking its claim in the U.S. licensing arena, with a focus on brand extensions. One of the most recent extensions involves the AEG brand and “green” products. Founded in Germany in 1883, AEG’s reputation spans a wide spectrum of products, from appliances to power tools to toys. Matt Young, head of EGBL, explains how three licensees are using the AEG brand name to bring high-quality, eco-friendly products to the U.S.
Laurie Leahey: Why does it make sense for the AEG brand name to be associated with “green” products?
Matt Young: It’s a very old German brand built on high-performance, quality, and its German heritage. It started with a relationship with General Electric with the production of light bulbs in Europe. Historically, the AEG brand has perceived high value and it’s well recognized by consumers.
L.L.: What types of “green” products are the licensees producing under the AEG name?
M.Y.: One of the companies is the Lafert Group. It is an Italian company and they specialize in making asynchronous motors and generators. And they’ve actually created some very high-efficient motors and generators that help conserve energy and increase the power output. They’ve launched them in the U.S. marketplace.
The other company is a company called AEG Identification Systems and they primarily make RFID tags and transponders. They’re marketing those in the solar energy and wind energy field.
Then the company that’s making the biggest splash is a company by the name of AEG Power Solutions. Their primary products are UPS [uninterruptible power supply] systems and power back-up systems, but more importantly they’ve produced a line of solar inverters and solar converters. Those products transform the energy produced by solar panels into energy that can be used in the home.
L.L.: Who is the initial target demographic for these products? Will consumers be able to purchase these for use in their own homes?
M.Y.: They’re all targeted toward businesses, particularly the motors and RFID transponder products. Power Solutions is taking a two-prong approach to the U.S. market. First, they’re going after customers that would produce the large solar grids, but they’re also targeting smaller installations, maybe say an office park or a building with many tenants [where] you could put a number of solar panels on the roof and have the energy dispersed to the individual companies within the complex or building. Lafert Group, the company that produces motors and generators, actually produces some products that go into professional kitchen appliances.
L.L.: What will EGBL’s role be as these licensees bring AEG-branded product to the U.S. marketplace?
M.Y.: As the licensor, we are intent on helping support our partners from Europe, particularly these three that are in the area of saving energy and producing green products, to become more established in the U.S. market. So we’ll start to pay more attention and spend more time in the U.S., relative to helping them become well seeded in the marketplace.