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More sustainability and a new understanding of beauty: Kao presents hair care brand Guhl in a completely new way

Under the motto „Genuinely Familiar“, Kao is presenting its hair care brand Guhl in a completely new way. The revised concept of the iconic brand is in line with Kao's corporate and sustainability strategy, which aims to make people's lives more sustainable and beautiful. With the relaunch, Kao and Guhl are promoting a new understanding of beauty that challenges the supposedly perfect look of classic hair care advertising and focuses on authentic images, real people and relatable moments of everyday life. In addition to a realigned brand positioning and a comprehensive communication campaign, the relaunch also includes a revised product concept: product formulation, packaging and production will be even more sustainable in the future - with unchanged quality standards in a 75-year brand tradition.
 
"With the relaunch of Guhl, we want to move even closer to the needs and lifestyles of our consumers," says Armin Haery, Director Marketing Consumer Care Business DACH & Guhl Europe. "To achieve this, we have focused on the core values of our Guhl DNA and consistently developed the brand on this basis - our product concept has been revised and designed to be even more sustainable, and our brand positioning has been completely realigned. Under the motto 'Genuinely Familiar', we place a modern understanding of inner and outer beauty at the centre of our communication and show real people in all their diversity. In doing so, we want to make the Guhl brand more approachable, emotional and relevant, and provide it with a visible purpose that goes beyond the mere product benefit."
 
This new understanding of beauty is part of Guhl's new brand positioning and plays a central role in the brand's TV commercial, which breaks with the classic beauty ideals of hair care advertising and instead focuses on relatable moments of everyday life and authentic images. 
 
New product concept promotes sustainability and a respectful approach to nature and its resources
 
As part of the relaunch of Guhl, Kao is also setting itself new sustainability standards in the areas of product formulation, packaging and production. In this way, the new Guhl meets the central need of consumers for more sustainable products.
 
The ingredients of the new shampoo are more than 98 percent biodegradable[1] and sustainable aspects are also coming to the fore in the packaging: the new shampoo bottle bodies are made of 99 percent recycled material. Unnecessary secondary packaging, black plastic and disposable products will continue to be dispensed with completely. The new products are produced at Kao's European headquarters in Darmstadt in a climate-neutral factory[2]. Through the use of an innovative manufacturing process, the so-called cold production, further energy can be saved - around 118 tonnes of CO2 per year compared to the previous
manufacturing process.
 
All new formulations are vegan and thus without ingredients of animal origin. Over 92 percent of the ingredients are of natural origin[3]. The new Guhl products contain around 30 percent fewer ingredients than before, are dermatologically confirmed and free of silicones[4], parabens and microplastics. Guhl is also PETA-certified and thus assures that all products have not been tested on animals. The proven quality of Guhl, which is characterised by a tangible and visible hair result, fragrance intensity and efficiency, remains unchanged.
 
"Sustainable formulations, new packaging concepts and energy-saving production are important factors in making the brand portfolio in our consumer business more sustainable in the long term," says Nicola Bäuerle, Director Sustainability, Kao Consumer Care Business, Americas and EMEA. "The relaunch of Guhl is therefore an important building block in achieving our global sustainability goals."
 
Innovation power now closer through local research and development 

Kao has created another important renewal with Guhl in the organisational area. In order to combine the innovative power for Guhl at one location, in addition to strategic development and production, research and development for the brand will now be located at Kao's European headquarters in Darmstadt. With this step, Guhl wants to get even closer to the needs of consumers, also in a geographical sense, and drive innovations faster. Developing a deep and fundamental understanding of customer needs in the genba, the place of action, is a central guiding principle of research work at Kao and is anchored in the company’s corporate philosophy.
 
Relaunch supports Kao's sustainability goals
 
The brand relaunch is in line with Kao's corporate and ESG strategy, the Kirei Lifestyle Plan. The Japanese word kirei describes something that is clean, well-ordered and beautiful at the same time. As part of this concept, Kao strives to make people's lives more sustainable and beautiful, creating products that respect
and promote the individual beauty of all. Launched in 2019, the Kirei Lifestyle Plan comprises three guiding principles, "Making my everyday more beautiful", "Making thoughtful choices for society" and "Making the world healthier and cleaner". These pillars are also reflected in Guhl's new brand positioning, which is built on "closeness to myself", "closeness to others" and "closeness to our environment".

[1] According to OECD regulations & including water. 
[2] 2-Phase Sprays excluded; climate neutral through reduction, prevention and compensation.
[3] Including water.
[4] 2-Phase Sprays and blow dry lotion excluded.

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