Introducing Waterless Urinals to the North American Market
When contacted by Waterless Co, the oldest manufacturer of waterless urinals in the United States, we were asked to help them in three primary areas:
- Enhance the awareness of no-water urinals; at that time, many people did not know what a waterless urinal was
- Promote the benefits of waterless urinals
- Boost the company’s brand awareness
Our first task was to familiarize ourselves with these products. In the 2000s, they were primarily installed in arid states such as Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Texas and California. However, they were so unusual that many manufacturers of no-water urinals, including Waterless Co, posted directions on how to use the urinal right above it. The message read:
This is a waterless urinal.
Use the urinal and walk away.
Simple, but you would be surprised how many men did not know how to use these urinals. They would look for flush handles, wonder where the automatic flush mechanism was located, or stand in front of the urinal asking themselves, “what do I do next?” The answer, of course, was nothing. Use the urinal and walk away.
As to the benefits of waterless urinals, we learned about their substantial impact on water savings —that each waterless urinal could save as much as 35,000 gallons of water per year. Let’s say an office building has 100 urinals. If they are all no-water urinals, this means 3,500,000 gallons of water could be saved each year, just in this one facility.
But there is more. We also found out about what is called the energy/water nexus. Very simply, it takes energy to deliver water to and from a facility. The less water needed, the more energy saved. So, as far as sustainability, waterless urinals deliver double advantages.
Further, in general, these urinals are easier to clean than traditional urinals. They rarely need servicing, mainly because they do not have flush handles, and interestingly, are seldom vandalized. Water-using urinals, we learned, are often vandalized in schools and bars. The target is the flush handle. No flush handle, no vandalism.
Once we understood the operation and function of waterless urinals and their many benefits, our job at AlturaSolutions was to get the word out. Initially, we did this using three strategies:
- Get articles placed in major trade publications read by building managers, facility managers, and others that would consider purchasing these urinals for their facilities.
- Send out ongoing news stories and press releases about the technology and Waterless Co specifically.
- Regularly send out product releases. Normally found in the back of trade publications or online, these “showcase” items can be surprisingly powerful. Readers or visitors can “click” for more information.
In recent years, we have begun adding social media to the communications mix. Content from Waterless Co is now found all over the internet. Further, the company has developed excellent search engine optimization.
As to results:
- Year over year sales of the company’s key products has increased, even during difficult economic times. (Because this is confidential information, we have been asked not to reveal actual percentages).
- People no longer draw a blank when they hear the words “waterless urinals.” Just about everyone knows what a waterless urinal is today.
- More manufacturers have entered the industry. You might wonder how this could be a benefit. By proving the advantages of this technology, more facility managers became interested in these urinals, and with interest, more companies decided to introduce their own brands. Waterless, however, is now viewed as an icon in this industry.
Bottom line: The ongoing stream of content in different formats developed interest in the technology, trust in the brand, and with trust, sales.