Humanizing a commoditized industry


Our objective was to help H.B. Fuller create a differentiated position in a commoditized industry, and develop a tagline and identity system to support the new strategy.


When global adhesives manufacturer H.B. Fuller decided to expand beyond their core business after 125 years, they realized their product-focused brand position was relevant to their past, but didn’t fully reflect their future. So H.B. Fuller asked Schermer to reevaluate their brand strategy to ensure it was aligned with the company’s new direction.


H.B. Fuller was caught in a commodity trap. Like competitors, their brand was defined by their products. Through VOC and analyst research, we learned that while adhesive is more or less adhesive, adhesive companies are not created equal. We consistently heard that while competitors are driven to sell products, H.B. Fuller is driven to solve problems.

What customers valued most about working with H.B. Fuller were things like deep production and process expertise, and proactive, responsive service – things they didn’t get from competitors. We discovered that H.B. Fuller’s difference was their dedication to connecting customers with the things that matter most, whether it’s an innovative product, a supply chain solution or technical expertise.

Our strategy was to shift their focus from what they make to why, and build their brand around the many ways they help enable customer success.


The brand position we developed, “Connecting what matters,” hints at the process of bonding two surfaces together while emphasizing the role H.B. Fuller plays in helping customers get their products to market. We leveraged the “connection” concept to refresh the visual identity, using a colorful system of overlapping circles and bright photography to represent the connections H.B. Fuller enables every day. We then brought the brand to life through marcomm materials, sales collateral, tradeshow experiences and a new brand microsite, www.connectingwhatmatters.com.

Ultimately, “Connecting what matters” is more than a brand; it’s a promise that resonates both internally and externally. It celebrates and elevates the commitment of employees, and opens the door for more strategic conversations with customers.


By using storytelling rather than product selling, we’re helping H.B. Fuller create meaning and differentiation, with a purpose-based, buyer-driven brand that has been embraced by departments across the organization.

Said the Director of Global Communications, “The ‘Connecting what matters’ brand resonates across diverse global audiences and markets and enables us to tell a powerful story about why H.B. Fuller is a strong partner.”

Customers across the world have also affirmed the new brand. One said, “It’s not just focused on their products, like all the other adhesives companies, it’s about how they think outside the box and support their customers like partners.” Another remarked, “It’s perfect. It goes farther and touches on the human connections.”