1. #LowesFixInSix Vine videos
I’ll start with the campaign most Lowe’s/social media fans will know.
These Vines were good enough to win a Cannes Lion for BBDO and Lowe’s in 2014.
The tips are obscure enough to merit plenty of sharing and the production on the animation is immaculate.
Lowe’s aim of making home improvement accessible and stress-free is perfectly encapsulated.
2. Diorama window displays (live action Vines)
Lowe’s decided the success of its Vine campaign could be emulated in a window display in Manhattan, introducing the brand’s new, small format stores.
Two dioramas were built to look much like a stop motion Vine, even including a smartphone frame and a Like button that pedestrians could push, upping a counter.
While I’ve written recently about the advantages of digital screens over traditional shopfronts, an integrated, truly experiential campaign such as this one shows the magic of the real.
3. The Holoroom
Lowe’s is partnering with Hololens on what Microsoft calls a mixed-reality solution (beginning in Seattle and North Carolina).
That means customers stand in a blank kitchen ‘template’ and then use the headset to envision customised designs.
Here’s how Microsoft describes the experience:
Now people can view, in life-like realism, large items like cabinets, appliances and countertops in size and scale with incredibly high-definition options and detailed finishes.
The holographic details are rich and allow users to even see the differences between shiny chrome appliances versus matte brushed aluminum options.
From within the nearly empty square frame of a showroom kitchen, customers can completely change the look and feel of that space – including adjusting the size and shape of an island, and viewing virtual design options against physical counter stools.
This isn’t entirely a new service for Lowe’s. The retailer has previously had a so-called holoroom, using AR tablet technology (similar to IKEA’s implementation) to superimpose furniture and fittings into a blank room.
Lowe’s then moved on to Oculus Rift, before partnering with Hololens, which will presumably allow customers to interact with a store associate while viewing the mockups.
There are only 19 holorooms according to the Lowe’s website, so there’s an element of PR to the campaign.
Nevertheless, with a kitchen being a big ticket item, any experience that can capture data, increase conversion or up-sell is worth innovating.
Photo via Microsoft.
4. Lowe’s on Pinterest
Lowe’s has an incredible 3.4m followers on Pinterest.
The reason is the retailer’s approach to boards – a practical and inspirational mix with titles such as ‘Get Organized’ and ’50 projects under $50′.
Lowe’s branding has traditionally been more focused on novices and women than its competitor Home Depot, which has more of a trade feel.
With Pinterest users being two-thirds women and home improvement being one of the biggest categories, there’s an obvious alignment here.
5. Dynamic video advertising
Serving dynamic video ads is a tactic that has been used for a while (see more examples here) but home improvement is a particularly ripe sector for localized ads.
That’s because in the US climate differs wildly depending on what state you’re in, and so will products and stock levels.
6. Lowe’s Creative Ideas
Lowe’s website header menu includes a prominent link to ‘ideas and how-tos’. Within this section there’s a whole host of content marketing (buying guides, gardening forum/tips, how-tos, by room etc.) including Lowe’s Creative Ideas.
The Creative Ideas (traditionally a print publication) have their own mobile app, too, as well as being available as a digital magazine.
Lowe’s has been adding to its content library for a while now. The content is more extensive than that of Home Depot and gives Lowe’s search gains in a number of relevant areas.
But this is not just content marketing, Lowe’s is very responsive to customer questions in this part of the website.
Scroll down the comments (e.g. in the kitchen planning guide) and you’ll see the team has responded to pretty much every question on the same day.
7. #ProudMoment on Instagram
Going way back to 2012, Lowe’s was continuing its multichannel efforts with a hashtag campaign on Instagram.
Very simply, it was a drive to uncover brand advocates and user-generated content. Customers were asked to take photographs of their proud home improvement moments and Lowe’s would select a weekly winner.
As Bryan Nagy points out, the campaign could have been slicker (a fairly generic hashtag and a lack of links to or promo of the channel) but it shows Lowe’s commitment to meeting the customer where he/she resides.
8. Lowe’s Innovation Labs
Lowe’s has been cultivating an image as a relatively young and tech-savvy brand.
Partly that’s done through its innovation lab, which is aiming to improve customer experiences, as well as present an interesting side of the retailer to prospective employees.
For that reason, I think the project can be classified as marketing, though product design is probably more accurate.
Check out the scrolling website for Labs; there are plenty of interesting projects, though I’m most impressed by its collaboration with Fellow Robots to create a customer service bot to help with inventory questions.
Fast forward until you see the bot.
9. Never Stop Improving rebrand commercial
The ‘Never Stop Improving’ commercial seems to have been loved by some but not all.
This article, for example, compares the brand unfavourably to Home Depot, arguing that in 2011 when this spot was broadcast, consumers were too mired in post-recession debt to be so aspirational.
Home Depot’s ‘More spending. More doing.’ was a more timely concept, the article continues.
However, though I’m not a massive fan of the music, I love the flawless execution of the concept.
Even though the idea of following one couple/family wasn’t new in marketing in 2011, there has been a recent spate of ads using this tactic (in the UK – ASDA, EasyJet, Nationwide and more).
Perhaps Lowe’s started the trend?
Let’s finish with a final dollop of multichannel and social media.
Lowe’s ran a series of spots in March 2015 for its spring campaign, aimed at sports fans and focusing on lawn, deck, bath and paint. The campaign ws supported by how-to content on a nicely designed Tumblr.
Though 2015 may not have been a vintage year for Tumblr, many brands (e.g. Nescafe) were taking advantage of the ease of adding content to the platform (away from their complicated and often heavy websites).