Bionaire & Sunbeam
A parent company that owns multiple brands within the same category faces a unique challenge: how can they effectively market each brand to a different demographic to avoid competition within their own brand portfolio? Luckily, that challenge also brings them the advantage of a unique opportunity.
Jarden Corporation is the brains behind some of our favorite small appliance brands — including Oster, Mr. Coffee, and Crock-Pot.
For their home comfort brands Bionaire and Sunbeam, the company was in need of two important services: product styling that distinguished the brands from each other using their existing brand equity, and a production strategy to optimize their manufacture.
To create product families of fans, heaters, and humidifiers for both brands, we developed a design strategy centered around platforming. This approach to design, engineering, and production increases efficiency and brand cohesion by embracing standardization and commonalities.
Through the use of modular parts, we were able to create minimal components while making sufficient product variety for the market.
Platforming Across Two Axes
The strategy was enacted with a two-pronged approach: throughout a single category, and throughout a single brand.
Product Category Platforming
Within a single product category — such as ceramic heaters — the same product internals were used for both Bionaire’s version of the heater as well as Sunbeam’s.
Our engineering team explored the best possible internal configurations in each category with a hands-on plan of attack.
By tearing through a variety of competing products, they arrived at configurations that could accommodate different housings for each brand while optimizing the product’s functionality.
Within a single brand, various products were designed to share external elements such as housing components, buttons, and displays. Fans, heaters, and humidifiers alike shared these parts, creating both holistic appearance and economical tooling.
Strategic Brand Differentiation
In addition to an edge in manufacturing efficiency, designing both product lines at the same time also offered a strategic advantage to the design process.
Every design cue was carefully crafted in order to ensure that the design language of each brand remained precisely targeted at distinct users from its sister brand. By looking at target users with different personas who shopped at different channels, both brands retained a unique identity that wouldn't go on to compete with the other.
The architectural inspiration of Bionaire's products brings clean lines and a high-end aesthetic to household appliances.
Lines lengthen the form with only the most subtle of curvature and strong vertical directionality, drawing consumers who look at appliances as a complement to their decor.
In contrast, Sunbeam's approachable design language is characterized by its relaxed arcs and softer forms.
The flexible language draws from the concept of a smile, creating friendlier products for consumers who want a reliable product that gets the job done and makes their day-to-day life a little easier.