I was invited to Atlanta by Jenn-Air for an all-expenses-paid designer meeting. I pictured a room full of designers being led like cattle through a showroom where slick salesmen, like Vince from ShamWow, hawked the latest and greatest appliances... I was totally wrong. What I was treated to was a very intimate event; there were only eight designers there, ranging from one who counted Ronald Reagan as a client to a relatively new one-person design company, and everything in between. Our accommodations were first class, dinner at Au Pied de Cochon was merveilleusement délicieux, the conversation was lively and I began to wonder if Jenn-Air's new marketing strategy was to wine and dine me into specifying their products... Again, I was mistaken.
The Jenn-Air company, much like Domino's Pizza, has come to a realization that their products have a bit of a stigma. We have all seen the Domino's commercial where they solicit the honest opinion of the customer (or ex-customer) and use the info to better not only their product but their reputation. On day two of our meeting, they solicited our honest opinions, had a CMKBD take us through their new and very interactive website, provided great product catalogs, showed us each of the new appliances in great detail in their totally tricked-out Insperience Studio, answered a myriad of questions, and then let us cook our own lunch on the appliances. That was brilliant.
I can tell you this -- their new products are aesthetically pleasing, the technology incorporated into each appliance is well thought out and in step with the iPhone generation and, once again, they have brought us a new innovation: the ductless downdraft cooktop (Jenn-Air invented the downdraft in the 1960s). It is good to see a company like Jenn-Air step up to the plate, admit their faults and then do something big about it, starting with their most basic sales force, the kitchen designer.
What is your perception of Jenn-Air?