Whirlpool France won’t bank on its longevity

2011 is celebrating the 100 years of Whirlpool. A nice opportunity that the brand has yet chosen to ignore in France.

Whirlpool is a top of the range brand of household appliances. It is also the market leader. Its image is finely honed and, though focused on mass-market concerns, comes closer to High-Tech codes. As a result, it is difficult to spot its patrimonial potential. Yet, here are the facts. Whirlpool turned a hundred-year-old in 2011.
Indeed, the brand was created in 1911 by the Upton family, the name being chosen in reference to the whirlpool washing-machine.
In recent years its main achievements have rather been the group, its figures and tactics. In 1989, the brand takes over Philips household appliances. It communicates about the merge on TV and about its products the following year. Then, Philips disappears from communication and from the products in 1995. With the purchase of Maytag in 2005, Whirlpool becomes number one on the market. It has focused on the top range since, particularly with its brand Kitchen Aid.
On the innovations level, it is difficult to know what the striking facts are. The French Internet site offers no help actually. And Whirlpool France has chosen not to celebrate this anniversary. Yet, with such watchwords as “a passion for innovation” and “smart product research”, the chances are high that the brand could bring out many examples of its research feats. The everyday life of women and of households has considerably changed thanks to such companies inventions. The illustration by history of this type of high-tech innovation could have reminded us how much our lives have improved thanks to these businessmen’s passion. Is the American brand afraid of unveiling its hegemony to French people? Doesn’t it feel any pride in its technology?

Anyway, the cultural difference between France and the United States can be seen through this example. In America, they are rather proud of this centenary illustrated by a dedicated logo

and by an illustrated chronology on Whirlpool corporate site, available here: http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com/100/includes/documents/FactSheet.pdf

The brand tells its story over the years. Technological opportunism, financial gamble, investments and managerial flexibility have saved this company that did not meet with an immediate success. This enormous group construction went through human adventures, but also through a lot of purchases. America is not afraid of its success in business. It is not afraid of talking about historical industrial hazards, nor about how companies survived during World Wars. Besides, Whirlpool emphasizes its management and its involvement in social progress. This is how, over there, a company can truly be an economic agent and even promote citizenship. When, on top of it, the company has lived through 100 years of industrial and commercial history…

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