Lowe's is set to unveil a new marketing campaign, tagline and overall brand positioning tied to a series of new capabilities that will allow consumers to manage a variety of home-improvement and maintenance projects.
The tagline, "Never Stop Improving," will go live Monday, Sept. 19, along with a new campaign from agency BBDO. Both efforts set the stage for the launch of My Lowe's in mid-October. At the core of that offering will be the ability for consumers to easily access records of everything they've purchased at Lowe's , including information such as owner's manuals, warranties and extended protection plans. Consumers will also be able to personalize the application with dimensions of rooms in their homes and colors used in those rooms, for example. Eventually, there will be "envisioning" tools that allow consumers to virtually view various configurations of colors and flooring for their homes, as well as develop wish lists.
Tom Lamb, senior VP-marketing and advertising, said the new brand positioning and capabilities are born of the fact that consumers' expectations of the home-improvement category have changed. "They want solutions across a range of projects, inspiration and project planning and how-to information. They were telling us there's uncharted space across this entire continuum of the project and an opportunity to knit it all together," he said. Now consumers will be able "to manage all those projects knitted together over the course of a lifetime."
My Lowe's will be the first of those capabilities, he said. The opt-in program will launch as a web-based application, though it will soon migrate to mobile. Mr. Lamb cited a number of examples from his personal life in illustrating how the program will work. A three-foot patch of shingles was recently ripped off his roof, for example. With My Lowe's he would have been able to store the original brand, color and dimensions of the shingles for retrieval later, making it easy to repair that portion of the roof. Likewise, most people keep track of paint colors in their house, by storing the mostly empty bucket in the garage, he said. With My Lowe's , the brand, sheen and color would all be saved, making it easy to re-purchase.
In the coming months, the retailer will also give consumers the option of doing things like setting reminders to change out furnace filters or auto-subscribing to receive the type of filter they need, when they need it.
The launch spot for the campaign was selected from dozens that were tested with consumers, Mr. Lamb said. It follows a couple from first date to aging grandparents, making home improvements big and little all along the way. It's an emotional spot with an upbeat soundtrack from a little known artist, 23-year-old New Zealander Gin Wigmore. Mr. Lamb expects it will resonate with a broad swath of consumers.
"We carefully tested this particular spot as a launch spot to ensure that a range of consumers: men, women, commercial customers, businesses, millennials, boomers would connect with the spot and the music," Mr. Lamb said. "What we're doing with this first round of advertising is setting the stage with this promise that Lowe's is in the process of starting this journey to 'Never Stop Improving.'"
Mr. Lamb declined to comment on spending for the campaign, which will run through this year and into 2012, though it's worth noting that Lowe's typically has its big advertising pushes in the spring. Spending in the second quarter typically accounts for more than one-third of the annual measured media budget, according to Kantar. Last year the retailer spent $390 million on measured media.
Lowe's is the second-largest home improvement retailer to Home Depot. Last month, Lowe's reported a 1.3% uptick in second-quarter sales to $14.5 billion, while Home Depot saw sales jump 4.2% to $20.2 billion. However, Lowe's typically outstrips its rival in terms of buzz, according to YouGov BrandIndex. Lowe's has taken a lead in perception scores for most of the year to date and currently has a "pretty significant" lead, a spokesman for the tracking firm said.
Still, Mr. Lamb believes the new brand positioning will further distinguish Lowe's , as well as rally employees. This Friday a pep rally will be held at the retailer's corporate office in Mooresville, N.C., where the launch spot and My Lowe's application will be previewed. Field employees at stores across the country saw the preview via Lowe's internal network beginning Tuesday.
"We're setting a new mindset and expectation, as far as behavior from our team," Mr. Lamb said. "Over the last several years, our employees have been looking for a handle or rallying cry. The neat thing, as a marketing professional, has been to see how our employees at the corporate office and the stores have grabbed on to this and are telling us that they understand this [message]."
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