Behind Kohler’s Digital-first Journey with Dentsu Webchutney

Pioneering bold solutions for an iconic industry leader through digital media

India’s sanitaryware market is infamously fragmented and price-conscious. It’s seen as a commodity industry with steady growth prospects. However, Kohler, the bold brand that it is, wants to stay ahead of the market by looking for new avenues for growth, with a long term goal of nudging buyers into becoming value-conscious. Understanding the opportunity, Dentsu Webchutney pitched an ambitious plan using the highly data-driven targeting possibilities to directly reach affluent buyers online.

Needless to say, several eyebrows were raised, plenty of questions asked, and a room full of ‘Is this really a risk we’re willing to take?’, but over several discussions, we proved our ability to lead the industry for Kohler, and orchestrate media and creative in a way that our 40+, affluent HNI would know about, remember, and eventually experience Kohler in a new way.

But now, we can say without a speck of doubt that it was the best decision at the most optimal time. With 18 months of this partnership behind us, the lessons are clear to us: every company, no matter the category, needs to align their business to digital. It requires bold thinking to create new customer journeys. And once digital starts generating qualified leads, there’s a new way for the category to respond.

We’ve listed select innovations from three of several campaigns in the last year to show how media and creative can help outpace category growth and influence brand metrics alongside sales targets.

Case #1: Colours by Kohler

Objective: Brand Awareness

To communicate Kohler’s digital experience initiatives, we started by launching signature ‘Colours by Kohler’ in August 2019 for brand awareness through digital. Creative and media worked hand-in-hand to develop the film and its distribution. We highlighted colours that resonated with our Indian audience, namely: Peacock, Truffle, and Thunder Grey.

With the primary objective of brand awareness, our media team deployed video pre-rolls on YouTube and reach builders across publishers like Times of India, The Quint, NDTV, Cosmopolitan, Vogue.

The biggest media innovation, however, was with The Quint: where its traffic matched our target audience perfectly. We took The Quint’s to create an experience that one can’t miss out on. On any ordinary day, The Quint embodies bright colors, which now, thanks to us, suddenly went colourless. The only sprinkles of colour on the website was by Kohler, that showcased the product in all its colourful glory.

By taking over the site, we not only made the communication unmissable but also kept it captivating and engaging. It captured the user’s attention throughout their journey on the website by showing ad banners in the colour of the product.

The stark contrast of a colored ad on a monochrome website leveraged new technology, to bring out the communication message clearly and kept the audience engaged.

All in all, the campaign was a fantastic start to the relationship:

Case #2: Colours by Kohler [Phase II]

Objective: Consideration

Building on the success of our first brand awareness campaign, we expanded our geographies from Top 8 Cities to Top 22 cities, with our objective now to grow consideration.

Only this time though, we tapped into a new insight. That millennials are key influencers in a family’s interior purchase decisions. (Instagrammable homes are table stakes!) With that in mind, we forged a partnership between Inshorts and Kohler with an engagement layer: they could get an experience of Kohler’s products by interacting with the styles and looks for the new season.

To be a little more precise, we worked with them to create a custom advertising innovation where users were shown an interstitial ad with the range of Kohler colours. The creative had toggle buttons of three colours wherein a person would tap on to one of the colours and a video would play for that colour to give the audience a better understanding of the product.

Strategically associating every colour to an emotion, we placed the color ‘Peacock’ that was displayed first in order to arouse trust in the users. ‘Truffle’ has a relaxing tone to it, therefore we placed it in the middle. To leave the user with a thought of seriousness, the innovation ended with ‘Thunder Grey’.

The campaign to nudge consideration was once again elevated by using first-party data along with retargeting to audiences who had already visited our website. Eventually, the InShorts campaign helped prospect an influential target audience.

Taking all our initiatives into consideration, the campaign results were as follows:

Case #3: Colours in 2020

Objective: Lead Generation

With our aim in 2019 primarily being to build awareness & consideration, 2020 had other plans. This time, our aim was to increase leads.

With the pandemic taking a toll on Kohler’s offline showrooms & of its distributors, which led to a decline in footfalls. Kohler improvised by driving digital leads the stores adapted to cater to online consultations therefore keeping them busy in the ‘new normal’.

This aided the sales team at these stores, helping save jobs of several who were sitting idle with no footfall in the second quarter — that too at a very attractive CPL, building off the work on previous campaigns to build a sanitised first-party database.

If 2020 taught the world one thing, it’s that we must find the silver lining or rather the colour in everything around us. Dentsu Webchutney, took innovation and the beauty of the digital landscape and gave Kohler a new dimension to their business success in India.

With entire categories undergoing massive shifts, Kohler is ahead in a category with significant growth potential, as digital starts influencing even more of the purchase journey. Together, we’re making ambitious moves in setting the benchmark for digital media, from awareness to fulfillment, in all its glory.

India’s favourite creative agency. Estd. 1999.

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