Business and financial review
Focus on customer orientation
Geberit desires to generate primarily organic sales growth in order to ensure the Group’s long-term success. A prerequisite for this is to increase market penetration in the existing markets and to develop new markets in a targeted manner. Against this background, great importance is attached to the optimization of market cultivation. Customer orientation is therefore the focus of the Company's integrated, sustainable corporate philosophy.
Around 500 technical advisors working in the field are in contact on a daily basis with plumbers, planners and architects, in particular. During the year under review, around 30,000 customers were provided with education and further training in Geberit systems and software tools in the 25 information centers in Europe and overseas. Additionally, external training sessions held by local sales companies in cooperation with partners in a variety of settings offered a special opportunity for educational measures. As a result of these measures, a further approximately 70,000 customers came into contact with Geberit know-how and products during the past year.
Geberit's most important target group is and remains plumbers. The existing, proven market-cultivation activities such as customer visits, training, making technical documentation available etc., were successfully continued. In addition, investments were made during the year under review in forming a stronger emotional bond to plumbers. To this end, two new series of events were carried out: “Geberit on tour” and the “Geberit Challenge” plumbers' contest.
“Geberit on tour” is a mobile exhibition that made it possible in 2011 for plumbers to experience the advantages of Geberit products even more up close and personal at more than 450 events in eight countries. After its sweeping success in the Netherlands in 2010, the “Geberit Challenge” traveled to eight additional countries in the year under review: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Sweden, Norway, Finland and the United Kingdom. Garnering much media attention, the best team of plumbers in each of these countries was named based on professional competitions made up of theoretical and practical challenges. The grand prize was an exclusive trip to Dubai.
Thanks to the extensive campaigns of recent years, the Geberit brand is also becoming ever more recognized among end users. The target groups of these end user–oriented marketing activities are above all people interested in the topics of better living and interior design, as well as architects and interior designers. In the year under review, print and online campaigns reached over 40 million end users.
Trade fairs again served as good platforms for maintaining customer contacts and communicating Geberit's innovative strength in 2011. The most important were the biennial ISH in Frankfurt (DE) (Europe's largest sector trade fair), Batibouw in Brussels (BE), Mosbuild in Moscow (RU), Wohnen&Interieur in Vienna (AT), Fiera Termoidraulica in Padova (IT), Kitchen & Bath China in Shanghai (CN), and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas (US).
Facts and emotions in communications with customers
It is less the technical facts than the emotional aspects that count in communications with end users and architects, as opposed to information addressed to plumbers and planners. A branding project with the goal of evolving the Geberit brand was therefore initiated at the beginning of 2010. The new brand image integrates two different worlds: a more emotional one for the target group of architects and end users, and a more technically oriented one for that of plumbers and planners. Both worlds are based on the five central Geberit values – know-how, innovation, partnership, reliability and quality of life – as well as the same design principles. Communications are to be more self-aware, as befits a market leader, in the future. The implementation of the visual aspect of the branding project was undertaken in the second half of 2010; its global launch in Geberit markets and companies took place during the course of 2011.
As a result of the sustainable overall concept and decisive action on the market over the past years, Geberit was awarded the → Swiss Marketing Prize by the Swiss Marketing Association (GfM). Also acknowledged was the fact that the Company is an industry leader in the area of sustainability and consistently unites long-term economical growth with environmentally friendly and socially responsible action.
A high degree of customer satisfaction in the individual regional markets is central to Geberit's success. For instance, a survey of a total of 700 plumbers, planners and wholesalers on this topic was carried out in Germany in the year under review. Compared with the competition, it was determined that Geberit is the industry benchmark in all aspects – and above all in the important areas of corporate image and customer service – and exhibits many outstanding strengths in the area of familiarity to end customers. More than 80% of the customers and partners surveyed indicated very high satisfaction overall. Moreover, Geberit has an extremely loyal clientele: More than 90% of the plumbers and planners would recommend Geberit with no hesitation. According to another survey on the Geberit AquaClean shower toilet carried out in Switzerland, 83% of customers would purchase an AquaClean again, and more than 95% would recommend it to others.