I recently caught up with consumer electronics industry veteran Peter Weedfald, the Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Sharp Home Appliances, to interview him for a series of blogs for Twice. For those of us who know him, Weedfald is passionate about everything he endeavors. He’s a straight-shooting marketer, salesman, musician and composer, and a compelling storyteller.
With exception of owning a Sharp Carousel microwave oven many years ago, I wasn’t up to date on the products Sharp had in this space. I asked Weedfald what he had brewing in the world of home appliances. I also wanted to know, what’s behind the brand? This touched off a series of stories.
Speaking of Sharp Carousel
Weedfald is not one to let an unwitting layup slip by without sharing an anecdote. Remember when you had to turn the dinner plate you put into the microwave oven every few minutes, so your meal would heat evenly? I do. “The Sharp Carousel microwave completely changed the cooking experience making it better, simply because the built-in turntable meant you didn’t have to stand around watching your food cook,” says Weedfald. In 1974, the Sharp Carousel turntable microwave oven was released in the United States. What could be simpler?
A Passion to Deliver
Sharp Home Appliances’ brand umbrella mantra is, Simply Better Living. “For us, a brand is a promise that is paid off by the deliverables,” says Weedfald. “Products will make a brand, brands will never make a product.”
Ensuring that his team lives up to the brand promise, Weedfald says with conviction, “I have an agreement with my boss, Jim Sanduski [President of Sharp Home Electronics Company of America], and the product marketing team that they are going to bring to me, our sales organization, or our dealers or our marketplace products that are very simple to use, better than the competition, and that offer a better, healthier, and enjoyable lifestyle.”
A value proposition needs to work across the supply chain. “If your products have a unique franchise and position, and they’re heralded and wanted by a group of people who create a distribution model of buying from you, then we can make money for ourselves and our dealers,” explains Weedfald.
Delivering a unique and valuable product to be sold at retail isn’t good enough. Ensuring that a product is valuable over its long life is critical. “When we say to consumers, ‘Sharp simply better living,’ we live by the fact that the products are very simple to use,” Weedfald insists. “Better living is because the product gives you the option to make healthier choices, or it could be better living because it gives you back more time, or because the product fits really well into an apartment or condo and elevates your style.”
Simply better living points outward to consumers and channel partners. At the same time, it points inward to product management and the factory. Great service and support are part of the brand promise. “If the products are not about simply better living, they will never make it into the market,” Weedfald exclaims.
A Passion for a Healthy Lifestyle
Throughout our conversation Weedfald emphasized that better living is not only about convenience, but more importantly a healthier lifestyle.
Weedfald speaks with a heightened sense of urgency. “According to the EPA, the air inside our homes and our businesses, on average, is five-times more polluted than the air outside.”
I’m not particularly surprised by this because, after a rigorous seven years of allergy shots, my seasonal allergies have subsided, but no matter what I have done to date, mold and dust mites can still keep me up at night.
In 2000, Sharp patented its Plasmacluster Ion (PCI) technology. Few are aware that this technology engine has been deployed in thousands of top-brand refrigerators, cars, trucks, hospitals, office buildings and more to remove airborne mold and dust allergens, suppress the activity of airborne viruses, and help with clinging odors. Even fewer are aware that this technology is available to consumers in the form of Sharp air purifiers.
I’ll address more on this complex subject with a “simply better living” product solution in the next blog!
Meanwhile, I need to hop online to decide which models I should purchase for my home. Seven years of allergy shots be damned!