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Toto is a 101-year-old, world-renowned Japanese manufacturer of high quality, innovative, state-of-the-art, and luxurious bathroom equipment such as, toilets, bidets, washlets, and ultraviolet sanitation equipment (“Our Founding Spirit,” n.d.). However, Toto has been unable to replicate its global success in the United States (U.S.) for several possible reasons (Roberts, 2017). First, by positioning its brand as an exclusive and luxurious manufacturer of high-end technology at a high price point, Toto only appeals to a limited, top-end, niche market, limiting its widespread adoption (Roberts, 2017). Second, Toto believes in environmental stewardship and makes sustainable products with a green supply chain (“Toto and UPS,” 2010). However, given that the United States recently backed out of the Paris Climate Agreement, the market for sustainable products might be negatively impacted (Zhang, Chao, Zheng, & Hueng, 2017). Third, Toto’s target audience includes both business-to-business and business-to-consumers, and economic conditions, housing markets, and individual disposable incomes impact purchase of its products. Fourth, persuading consumers to change their self-cleaning habits and attitudes involves an awkward ‘bathroom conversation’ that either puts off and/or offends (Molotch, 2015). This case study explores the struggles of a sustainable, luxury brand positioned on innovation that sets it apart from the competition but which consumers may not value. The case questions focus on the marketing strategy changes that Toto must make in order to succeed in the U.S.
Amatriain, Rachael and Sinha, Mona
"Toto: A Game of Thrones in the U.S. -- An International Marketing Case Study,"
The Kennesaw Journal of Undergraduate Research: Vol. 6
, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/kjur/vol6/iss2/3