Kohler Co.: Believing in Better

The Challenge

Kohler Co. asked Shelton Group to help turn its long history of environmental sustainability into a clear point of difference in the marketplace. Many of its competitors were already touting their products’ sustainable features – but would consumers really believe that a maker of luxury plumbing products like Kohler could also care about the environment? Kohler needed a way to tell its sustainability story that would line up with its brand reputation and make its customers believe luxury and sustainability could go hand in hand.

The Insight

We talked to key stakeholders to dig into perceptions of Kohler’s brand culture and reputation. Again and again, these respondents emphasized the enduring quality of Kohler products. This was our light-bulb moment: Kohler’s high standards would be the key to relating Kohler’s sustainability commitment in a believable way.

The Solution

The communications platform we created, “Believing in Better,” connected Kohler’s long-held commitment to improving its products and processes with its commitment to making the world a better place. We wrote communications guidelines based on the platform so that all Kohler associates across business divisions could speak confidently about those commitments in any context, from creating marketing campaigns to chatting with customers.

To bring “Believing in Better” to life, we advised Kohler to implement a variety of consumer- and trade-facing tactics that would encourage dialogue and help customers see how sustainability is baked into Kohler’s operations and culture. For example, we worked with Kohler to craft an interactive trade show experience and establish a new blog dedicated to sharing and celebrating steps to improve the planet. We also consulted on copy for Kohler’s sustainability Web pages, plus sales presentations and showroom materials.

As a result of our efforts, Kohler has adopted our environmental sustainability platform for their overall stewardship positioning, which comprises community involvement, workplace responsibility and the arts, as well as sustainability.

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