Kitchen Tools

Carving out a Place in the Kitchen

Client: Zyliss
Industry: Home Products, Appliances & Kitchen
Services: Consumer Research, Product Strategy, Industrial Design

Challenge

Zyliss, a high-end kitchen tools and gadget brand from Switzerland, sought RKS Design’s expertise to increase global. market share long term. A new design strategy to guide the creation of an entire portfolio of innovative kitchen tools would be needed to reinvigorate Zyliss’ consumer appeal, brand equity and strengthen its competitive position.

Process

To create the new brand language, the RKS team gleaned insights into what happens in the heads, hands, hearts and homes of food lovers and chefs by spending time with people, in and outside of the kitchen. Throughout this comprehensive research study, particular design themes and patterns were uncovered: functionality, convenience, ease of use, beauty, safety, and ease of cleaning.

Solution

These themes inspired the RKS team to create a global design language and a portfolio of more than 30 products that emphasized not just functionality, but true pleasure in the handling, use, display and even washing of the kitchen tools. Beyond design aesthetics and functionality, the team also invented new intellectual property, such as an innovative one-handed operation salad spinner. One press of the lever sets the basket spinning at optimal speed to dry greens quickly and efficiently, while a quick press engages the integrated disc brake to bring the basket to a quick ‘fluffing’ stop. This long-term collaboration improved profitability for Zyliss and helped the company to strengthen its brand worldwide.

 

“We all love beautiful, efficient and convenient products. RKS, led by Ravi Sawhney,  is a design firm who not only completely understands these needs but is also very capable to put it within the context of branding and differentiation. Starting with the first meeting between Zyliss and RKS, both teams enjoyed a great chemistry and communication which led to wonderful creations of new and successful products.”

- Hardy Steinmann, CEO of Zyliss

Learn more about this program

RKS’ Helped Zyliss Create a Line of Clever and Captivating Kitchen Solutions, and In the Process Rallied Retail Around a Strengthened Brand.

Designing for the kitchen is highly challenging. Consumer products used in the home in general is a difficult design category, but people are even more particular about what goes into their kitchen and what they use to prepare food. Kitchen tools become part of their lives and their routines; they reflect their taste in style, functionality, and value. And once a tool becomes an entrenched part of their repertoire, it’s very difficult to convince them to change.

Today’s home chefs, as well as casual cooks, look for solutions that address their needs in simple, functional ways. As the functions performed are usually very straightforward and the technology of home food preparation isn’t progressing at the breakneck pace of other industries, innovation must be meaningful and practical and not change merely for the sake of change. A highly competitive segment, tight price control is essential and penetrating the already crowded retail market requires well-considered strategy and leading-edge design.

Zyliss, a renowned Swiss brand, sought RKS Design’s involvement to penetrate the lucrative U.S. market and carve out market share from its rivals. A new brand language would be needed to reinvigorate Zyliss’ consumer appeal, brand value and competitive position.

While many products are designed with the tastes of a particular country in mind, Zyliss wanted its new line of kitchen tools to have true international appeal.

How do you compete for attention and distribution in the most challenging product categories?

The RKS team gleaned insights into what happens in the heads, hands, and hearts of home chefs from spending time with consumers, in and out of the kitchen environment.

Watching them work, observing patterns of behavior, gauging the sense of satisfaction or frustration with a particular tool all contributed to understanding the nuances of the experience. Particular attributes rose to the surface: functionality, convenience, ease of use, beauty, safety, and ease of cleaning.

The preparation of food is an expression of love when providing for one’s family or friends, and that powerful emotion could be instilled into the user experience if the tools provided the satisfaction of a job well done. This insight inspired RKS designers to create a design language that offered not just functionality but true pleasure in the handling, use, and even washing and displaying of the tools.

These kitchen gadgets were tested extensively in prototype form to achieve the best solutions possible, incorporating input from chefs and average consumers and elevating performance and benefits in the process. Both real and perceived value was increased with no impact on cost.

RKS’ efforts resulted in an award-winning line of kitchen tools that offers new, creative uses, enhanced user safety, improved storage solutions and an attractiveness that makes you want to reach out and pick one up. The Zyliss line captivated cooks, consumers, retailers—even the competition. Brand equity was significantly enhanced and company profits elevated.

Over a decade of collaboration, RKS has provided guidance to the design and direction of the Zyliss brand, in harmony with the company’s Smart-Simple-Swiss global brand identity. Zyliss has successfully penetrated the kitchen market worldwide with a product portfolio of over 30 kitchen product solutions in the first four years, and has carved itself a very healthy piece of the kitchen market pie.

Awards:

Red Dot — Mix-n-Measure Cups (2007), Smart Touch Salad Spinner (2008), Pizza Slicer (2009)

IDEA — Silver — Lock-n-Lift Can Opener (2008), Bronze — Smart Touch Salad Spinner (2008)

GOOD — Smart Touch Salad Spinner (2008), Y-handled Peelers (2008), Susi II Garlic (2007)

Spark Award— Silver — Lock-n-Lift Can Opener (2008) , Bronze — Salad Spinner (2008), Bronze — Mix-n-Measure Cups (2008)