How SharkNinja is helping customers build the home of the future
Updated 19 November 2021 | By: Matt Miller, Sr. Copywriter
In late summer 2020, SharkNinja received a social media message from a mother who had gotten one of the brand’s Foodi Pressure Cookers as a donation through the Project Hope Alliance’s campaign to help families who were struggling during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. “A single mum and her family had to move into a motel. It was her daughter's birthday. They don't have anything to cook with. But she was able to go get a boxed cake mix and bake the cake in the Foodi,” remembered Brian Gill, Director of Global Media Strategy and Planning, SharkNinja. “She was just so happy she could make a cake for her daughter's birthday.”
It’s a story that makes Gill emotional more than a year later, and one that speaks to SharkNinja’s mission “to positively impact every household around the world, every day”.
Since the turn of the century, SharkNinja has focused their business on using technology, research and development to solve specific customer needs. One of these early innovations was called the Shark Navigator, an upright vacuum with a canister that could be removed, making the unit more manoeuvrable so customers could get under the couch or clean their curtains or stairs more easily. No longer was a vacuum a heavy machine that only cleaned one part of the floor. Gill also described a robot vacuum that detects the home’s layout, a blender that understands how much ice is being used and his favourite, a coffee maker that knows what temperature to brew at so you can have your blast of caffeine hot or cold.
Living in the connected home
The SharkNinja approach to engaging audiences in a connected home was discussed during a lightning talk at Amazon Ads’ unBoxed in October. SharkNinja is innovating for customers’ lives at a time when shoppers are more interested in using technology than ever before. New insights from Environics Research on U.S. and European customers shows that 60% of shoppers say they are always keeping up with the latest technology.1
“The past few years have certainly seen the rise in the adoption of new technologies – greatly accelerated due to the pandemic – which has also shaped consumers’ expectations for innovation and customer experiences,” said Susan Seto, SVP Market Strategy, Environics Research. “Our social values work has shown that consumers are getting more comfortable with disruption and new technological advancements, even feeling empowered by technology as they become more immersed in digitally-enabled lifestyles. And these technologies have contributed to an increasing expectation for immediacy, where modern-day consumers have come to expect quick access to information, people and things – to have their needs understood and met almost ‘instantly’.”
Gill has seen this enthusiasm firsthand. “There are customers DM-ing, ‘Hey, when are you coming out with something like this?’ Or, ‘Are you making something like this?’ They wanted to know what we're working on because they're eager for our next innovation.”
Solving problems with technology
But, for SharkNinja, it’s not about being high-tech for the sake of being high-tech. It’s about solving problems that customers experience every day. Gill explained another new vacuum technology SharkNinja developed that prevents hair from wrapping around the unit’s brush roll. In the past, people just lived with this problem. When hair wrapped around the brush roll, they’d pull out scissors to cut the hair off. This was just regular unit maintenance.
“Everyone always thought hair wrap around a brush roll was just part of the vacuuming experience. As we went through the process, that's actually a top five biggest complaint that people have about vacuuming, but people just assumed there was no way to fix that,” Gill said. “So we went and fixed it. They were like, ‘Wow. That is something I didn't consider. That's going to make my life so much better because now I don't have that problem anymore that I thought was just a problem of using this type of product’.”
Throughout the ongoing pandemic, SharkNinja has noticed that more customers are seeking ways to optimise their daily lives at home.
“We're trying to simplify as much as possible, just to give people time back, and that satisfaction that even a pressure cooker can bring, especially while at home during the pandemic,” he said. “How hard is it to work, be on conference calls, teach kids their maths homework, and try to cook dinner and not let the house be a mess, and do laundry. All right, let us take one of those things off your plate. Put a chicken in a pressure cooker. We'll see you later. Don't worry about it. We got it.”
Whether it’s making the balance of school, work and chores a little easier, or brightening a little girl’s birthday, these products and innovations can make a real difference in customers’ lives.
Even though 60% of customers embrace new technology, there’s still the other side that are indicating a growing sense of technology-related anxiety.2
“With some consumers, there's the sense that new technology is too disruptive to the way they want to live and manage their lives,” Seto said. “This discomfort is seen in a resistance to technological change and an interest for slowing down, simplifying and for authentic connections – along with a preference for new technology that can satisfy consumer needs in an ethical manner.”
SharkNinja has a smart way of reaching customers who may feel overwhelmed with technology. It’s not about selling a new technology; SharkNinja is helping solve a problem.
“I want to bring you a solution. The solution is going to be leveraging a technology that we can use,” Gill said. “With these new technologies, you actually can now solve for it. So, I think there is some nuance into the mindset of how we go to market and communicate with consumers.”
Building trust with consumers
According to the Environics Research study, shoppers say that the best way to build trust is by providing quality products, ensuring good value for the money, offering an affordable price and providing good customer service.3
“I don't think anyone nowadays, especially shopping on Amazon, is buying anything without that social proof first,” Gill said. “We do a ton of work in the development cycle with consumers, to continuously test the products and make sure we have a five-star product that a consumer can use. Almost on every one of our products, there was a big call-out for, ‘Give us your feedback’. We can thrive on it.”
To reach these customers, Gill described a strategy SharkNinja uses to better connect with audiences in Amazon’s store.
“Using some of Amazon Ads’ new ad overlay technology with streaming TV, we're actually able to pull in the reviews right there. So, we'll not only tell you about our product, but we'll show you that everyone loves it too. We do that really successfully. Shortening that consumer journey using Alexa Call To Actions, to make it really seamless to get more information on a product you like,” Gill said. “Those have all been huge game changers because we're taking out touch points from the consumer journey, and it's at their own convenience.”
It all goes back to the modern technology and the connected home, which Gill said gives customers the opportunity to interact with brands in interchangeable ways throughout their journey.
After all, the future of home technology is here today.
1-3 Environics Research, Social Values Global Consumer Themes, USA and Europe, 2021