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September 27, 2005

Whirlpool is podcasting

By Charlene Li

I'm at the Forrester Consumer Forum in New York and had dinner with several clients tonight. One of them was Whirlpool's Dan Cooke, manager of interactive marketing. We were chatting about the usual suspects -- RSS, blogs, search -- when Dan casually mentioned that Whirlpool had a podcast.

The podcasts were produced and moderated by Whirlpool's director of customer insight, Audrey Reed-Granger, who has a background in broadcasting. And it shows. What's interesting is the podcasts are focused on family issues and are not centered around Whirlpool products. Moreover, Whirlpool has done no overt promotion of the podcasts, preferring that they be found through word-of-mouth marketing. One charmer: the interview featuring Habitat Families and an interview with the 200,000th recipient of a Habitat For Humanity-built home (Whirlpool supports the non-profit by supplying a refrigerator and range to every Habitat home).

But my favorite feature -- the "coming soon" list of topics to encourage listeners to return for future broadcasts. The one I'm looking forward to the most is "Competitive Parents -- Mommyland Madness". 


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» Whirpool Podcasting: The Customer is Always Right from Syndicator blog
Forrester's Charlene Li discovers that Whirpool is podcasting now, and gets right down to the nub by noting that the focus in less on Whirpool products and more on the lifestyle that Whirpool serves. Now, the Syndicator thinks the jury is still out on ... [Read More]

» Who's Podcasting? Did you guess Whirlpool? from Blogspotting
Charlene Li writes that Whirlpool is podcasting. [Read More]

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David Cooperstein

Very interesting Charlene. You must be seeing a lot of nascent activity here. I like the fact that they are podcasting about life, not product. I wonder if it would fit well with a content distribution platform (like Gather?).

Scott Baradell

I love the idea that Whirlpool is promoting podcasting through word of mouth. It does make me wonder who the audience for this podcast is, and who they want the audience to be.

Victoria Pericon

Hi Charlene,

I'm the author of Mommy Land: Entering the Insanity of Motherhood and I just noticed you were looking forward to the Whirlpool American Family podcast I did about competitive parents entitled Mommy Land Madness.

That podcast will be available October 10th.

I'd love to hear what you think about competitive mothering after you listen.


Peter Klaus

Thanks for sharing this information. A large part of my function at Fleishman-Hillard over the past seven years has been the development of extended brand content that will increase message awareness and client visibility. It's not just the concept but the execution that is paramount.

Using an internal employee with a broadcast background better ensures the professionalizm and quality of the content obviously. And without good content, one has nothing.

It sounds like Whirlpool has a near flawless approach. The focus on lifestyle rather than product extends the ultimate product message -- "Whirlpool will improve your life and is an expert on a numbre of topics important to you."

As I work with clients to develop online editorial and word-of-mouth programs, I'd also stress that a key strategic element here is that Whirlpool is leveraging their cause-related efforts as part of this extended brand content. Our recent program with P&G's launch of the new Tide Coldwater product leveraged the company's concern for those less fortunate. The Tide Coldwater launch was supported by a major online viral campaign that directly contributed dollars to the National Fuel Funds Network. This element, in my estimation, more than doubld coverage and WOM spread in the online environ. Here is a link to iMediaConnection that discusses the entire program in detail:


Too few companies fully leverage the power of their cause-related efforts in the online environment -- it is a key area that can be extended through unique content and distributed on the Web...maximizing the cause investment and helping consumers (and others) to understand the company's full identity.


Hi Charlene,

Thanks for sharing this information, it's very interesting.

Herb Caldwell

I also noticed that Whirlpool is selling excess inventory of brand new products through an ebay store. Ilike this idea and it seems to be an innovative way to gather new customers.

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