Kohler admin June 8, 2022

Kohler | Global Product Strategy & Design

What bold can be in the bathroom

Creating structure and language for global design expression

Understanding cultural patterns to shape a global range strategy for bathroom design.

Kohler is one of America’s oldest and largest privately held companies with more than 50 manufacturing locations worldwide. A global leader in manufacture of kitchen and bath products, Kohler is known for its bold approach to design and a vision centred on improving the level of gracious living enjoyed by customers and end users.

As a business committed to leadership in design across kitchen and bath markets worldwide, Kohler had built out a broad portfolio of faucet lines to offer style choice spanning retail, commercial and specification channels.

Recipe worked with Kohler to build a coherent product strategy that was grounded in research carried out by our team in each market and complemented by semiotic and cultural analysis.

Synthesising a vast amount of insight gathered worldwide, the Recipe team developed a series of succinct visual tools that drove understanding and buy in, so that the projects required to achieve commercial goals could be agreed, design briefs defined, and development work executed swiftly.

It was evident that to deal with the challenge of becoming the leading global bathroom brand and ensure that design values were clear and consistent across all touchpoints, a more disciplined approach to building and managing the identity of its faucet lines was necessary.

This involved focusing strongly on the end customer, building empathy across development teams and decoding the design trends customers were becoming interested in – and more importantly, how they perceived them.

Within 12 months it was clear that marketing, design, engineering and communications teams were totally aligned with the Recipe defined global strategy, using common language to describe what propositions should mean (rather than simply how they should look) resulting in award winning product lines and marketing campaigns that featured more distinctive and relevant design stories.

These strategic tools have been active for a number of years, becoming part of a living process that continues to validate and refine the range.

​The folks at Recipe are truly grounded designers, researchers and analysts. We trust them to work as an integral part of our team, providing unbiased feedback and that rare combination of powerful consumer insight and structured analysis. In this overcrowded world of stuff, this really helps us to address the more subtle, deeper meanings that design has to deliver in order to win.

Mark Bickerstaffe

Director of New Product Development

Kohler Kitchen & Bath Europe & Asia Pacific