Brand harmonisation in full swing
An important step in the new brand strategy was implemented in 2019. In the key markets Germany, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland – plus several Eastern European countries – ceramic products and bathroom series from Keramag were replaced with the Geberit brand. This streamlining of the brand portfolio affected almost all areas of the company – including production, logistics, product data, marketing and the sales organisations.
The brand switch meant it was necessary to replace over 20,000 Keramag products with identical products bearing the Geberit logo in around 3,000 showrooms and exhibitions in the reporting year. This brand switch was completed successfully thanks to a strong partnership with wholesalers and meticulous preparation. A second phase will see three further regional ceramics brands being replaced by Geberit in France, Italy and the Netherlands in 2020, preparations for which already took place during the reporting year.
Focusing more keenly on the strong Geberit brand – a brand that is firmly established in the sanitary industry – has numerous advantages. Foremost among these are the concentration of marketing activities, the simplification of production and the consolidation of product information.
Design meets function – more than just words
As the sponsor of an exhibition dedicated to the design pioneer Victor Papanek at the prestigious Vitra Design Museum, Geberit invited architects and interior designers from across Europe to Weil am Rhein (DE) at the beginning of 2019. The guests not only gained a new insight into Papanek’s ideas, but were also able to view innovative Geberit bathroom solutions, which were met with a very positive response.
The direct targeting of architects and interior designers was further intensified in many Geberit markets. The “Design Meets Function” credo underlines the ability to offer products in front of the wall that have both a timeless design and clever functions. This credo can be seen most clearly in the new, integrated bathroom solution Geberit ONE.
An increasing number of events for architects and interior designers will also be held in various markets outside Europe, including China, Australia, South Africa and the Gulf region. The goal here is to also increasingly promote the company as a manufacturer of all-round solutions for the bathroom to this influential target group, in addition to emphasising its existing first-class reputation as a supplier of technical sanitary products.
Continued strong presence in the sanitary industry
As before, a significant share of the varied marketing activities is targeted at plumbers and sanitary engineers. This especially applies to the ongoing, personalised and frequently project-related support given to installation companies and planning offices by Geberit sales representatives. Their work is supported by digital tools, technical documentation, catalogues, brochures, magazines and a wide range of training opportunities unique in the sector.
Geberit assists the wholesale partners in their activities with a dedicated sales team, by offering comprehensive printed and electronic marketing materials as well as efficient order and delivery processes, which are becoming increasingly common in electronic form. This is to ensure that Geberit products are as widely available on the market as possible and that new products are well marketed. The aim is to work with wholesalers to ensure that the craft sector as well as end users receive professional support.
Consistent digital support for sanitary engineers and plumbers
Geberit further expanded capacities and skills within the Digital Marketing team, with the aim of developing and launching digital tools faster, more efficiently and according to the needs of the respective target groups.
The support of BIM was given a high priority here. Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an interdisciplinary planning method for optimising the entire planning and building process. Architects, sanitary engineers and building owners use BIM to share information efficiently. This helps them to avoid planning errors and improve productivity, which brings advantages in major construction projects in particular. For a number of years now, Geberit has been providing BIM users with support in the form of product data and calculation modules. A special plug-in has now been developed for the Revit planning software, which gives sanitary engineers direct access to compact 3D models and the corresponding planning parameters that are always kept up to date. The small size of the individual files allows them to be used easily. The roll-out for the most important product categories took place in autumn 2019 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and also in markets outside Europe.
Another important digital tool is the online catalogue for craftsmen. Information relating to products and spare parts is available from a single source and can be displayed on various devices. Information searches are intuitive, also enabling easy navigation on mobile devices at the construction site. The reporting year also saw the release of a revised version of another tool designed for everyday use, namely the Geberit app for craftsmen. This offers sanitary professionals support when it comes to the correct installation of Geberit products. Things were rounded off by other digital helpers, such as a calculator for using the Mapress metallic piping system in industrial applications and a self-learning programme for detecting actuator plates. All in all, 22% of the entire marketing budget was invested in digital tools and digital campaigns.
Training a big hit
During the reporting year, around 35,000 professionals were provided with training on Geberit products, tools, software tools and installation skills at 29 Geberit information centres in Europe and overseas. New showrooms were set up for this purpose at numerous locations, such as Nieuwegein (NL) or Krakow (PL). Furthermore, plumbers, architects and sanitary engineers were supported via webinars on fire protection and sound insulation, drinking water hygiene and other specialist topics. Around 85,000 additional customers also became more familiar with Geberit know-how and products at external training events, many of which were organised in cooperation with local wholesale partners.
Strong trade fair presence continues
In 2019, numerous trade fairs were once again used as platforms to foster and enlarge the network of contacts in the market and to introduce new products and innovations. At the ISH in Frankfurt (DE) – the sanitary industry’s leading international trade fair – numerous elements were added to the trade fair concept, which had already proven its worth in the preceding years. The goal here was to effectively showcase relevant product ranges from the Group to the end user – especially the integrated bathroom solution Geberit ONE, which was presented to the public for the first time at this trade fair. Other important presentations were made at Idéobain in Paris (FR), BAU in Munich (DE), KBC in Shanghai (CN), Mosbuild in Moscow (RU), Cevisama in Valencia (ES) and VVS in Odense (DK). Architects and designers were specifically targeted at the Fuori Salone during the Design Week in Milan (IT).
Increasing focus on the end user
In autumn, a new end user campaign was launched in Germany, Austria and Switzerland under the title “Better bathrooms, better lives”. Increasing the level of communication with end users is a further step in a long-term strategy, which started with the integration of the ceramics business and has continued since with the focus on the Geberit brand.
The campaign consists of three digital elements: an advertising campaign in digital media, the websites of the local sales companies and a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Nowadays, a large majority of potential end users first take inspiration online before visiting a specialist showroom. As a consequence, the Geberit websites have been enriched specifically with inspirations, information and digital tools that are both relevant and helpful for the end user. Potential customers are made aware of the websites by a campaign in digital media. They then receive additional advice and support from qualified specialists after they register in the CRM system.
In addition to an increasingly extensive range of digital tools, Geberit also published comprehensive, high-quality product documentation in numerous countries for plumbing exhibitions and partners, which can then be distributed to end users and building owners.
High-profile campaign for shower toilets
The advertising campaign for AquaClean shower toilets – which was launched in 2018 and also aimed at the end user – was continued in the reporting year and again met with a positive response in all 15 campaign markets. Another tour of the Geberit AquaClean truck across Europe was also organised. The mobile showroom and test unit offered interested parties the opportunity to try out a shower toilet at their leisure and compare the various models. End users in other markets were also given numerous opportunities to try out a shower toilet. This included mobile AquaClean WC lounges, which were made available to the public at selected major events such as concerts and sporting events in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands. Furthermore, a fleet of ten AquaClean trailers – each fitted out with two shower toilets – also visited numerous local events.
With the “Test at home” campaign, potential customers were given the chance to try out a shower toilet at home for free. In most cases, the interested parties wanted to keep their installed Geberit AquaClean beyond the trial period. Encouraged by the success in Germany and Switzerland, this campaign was extended to include Belgium and Austria in the reporting year.
The international sales initiative for hotels also made encouraging progress. More hotel projects were acquired in the reporting year, including the Intercontinental Park Lane in London and the Edelweiss Salzburg Mountain Resort in Salzburg. The number of four- and five-star hotels equipped with AquaClean shower toilets in Europe now totals around 500.