Home Depot - Becoming #2, c'est beau!

Retail (SILVER)
Best Integrated Program (BRONZE)

Client Credits: The Home Depot (Canada)
Peg Hunter - Vice President Marketing and E-Commerce
Gaye Mandel - Director of Advertising
Jason Reilly - Director of Marketing
Élise Vaillancourt - Regional Marketing Director
Sonia Draper - Senior Manager of Advertising Integration
Sarah Gayfer - Production Supervisor

Agency Credits: Cossette
Florence Girod - Vice President Strategic Planning
Benoît Bessette - Vice President - Business Lead
Jean Hugo Filion - Group Account Director
Anne-Claude Chénier - Co-creative Director
Anik Ouellet - Co-creative Director
Stéphanie Côté - Broadcast Producer

Crossover Notes:
All winning cases contain lessons that cross over from one case to another. David Rutherford has been identifying these as Crossover Notes since CASSIES 1997. The full set for CASSIES 2013 can be downloaded from the Case Library section at www.cassies.ca.


Crossover Note 2. Brand Truths.
Crossover Note 14. Refreshing a continuing campaign.
Crossover Note 28. Media Learning.
Crossover Note 32. Internal Marketing.

To see creative, click on the links that are embedded in the case.



Section I — BASIC INFORMATION

Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):Jan 2011 to December 2011
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: March 2011
Base Period as a Benchmark: Calendar 2009 and 2010

Section II — SITUATION ANALYSIS
a) Overall Assessment

It is never easy for large American banners to succeed in the Quebec market. [Crossover Note 2] Twelve years after entering Quebec, Home Depot’s marketing efforts did not seem to have the intended impact on the market. Even with the launch of new marketing campaigns, Home Depot was only third in terms of market share, behind the local competitors Rona and Reno Depot. Their longstanding history in Quebec gave them a major advantage. To increase its market share, Home Depot needed to position themselves as a store that would provide solutions to each and every Quebecer’s renovation needs. They also needed to increase overall awareness. Home Depot decided to launch a new campaign that would bring them closer to Quebecers and increase their market share as a result.

To do so, we focused our message on two important points. First, we showcased the diverse selection of exclusive product offerings available at Home Depot. Taking into consideration the economic downturn of the last few years, we focused on exclusive products that were important to Quebecers—products that would sell regardless of the state of the economy due to the great value they provided and how they made doing a project easier. Second, we implemented a multi-channel platform that engaged everyday consumers as they interacted with the brand. We made these consumers ambassadors of the brand by having them spread the message within their own social circles.  



b) Resulting Business Objectives

The two main objectives were identified as (1) reinforcing the consideration for the brand, and (2) increasing in-store traffic.



c) Annual Media Budget
Over $5 million


d) Geographic Area
Quebec


Section III — STRATEGIC THINKING
a) Analysis and Insight

Twelve years after entering Quebec Home Depot ranked third in terms of local market share. Throughout those 12 years, Home Depot faced special challenges which made it difficult to grow at the intended rate. For starters, as an American brand, it proved more difficult to build brand capital in Quebec than in the rest of Canada, especially when competing with local players like Rona and Reno Depot, which both benefited from better brand perception and a longstanding history in Quebec. These competitors captured the first and second largest market share, respectively.

Competition within Quebec proved to be stiff not only because of these major players, but also because of many smaller players (Canac, BMR, Patrick Morin, etc.), all of which were founded in the province and had a strong visibility outside of the greater Montreal area. Given Quebec’s cultural identity, which favors local Francophone businesses and products, Home Depot could not approach the Quebec market by just relying on the reputation it had built in the rest of Canada. 

Finally, as a newcomer, Home Depot was also at a disadvantage in terms of points of sale and distribution network. Rona, the leader, had about 300 points of sale in prime locations. Home Depot, in comparison, was competing with 22 stores throughout Quebec in locations that are sometimes not as accessible for consumers.



b) Communication Strategy

In order to reach these objectives stated earlier the marketing plan needed to reach beyond the already targeted group of consumers. We also believed in using employees (associates) as a key way to generate public interest and build brand equity. [Crossover Note 32] In light of our market research, we also decided to focus on two important points:

1. Positioning change: a greater selection of product offerings as the major point of differentiation:

The research revealed that a larger product offering (or selection) was the most important attribute to help increase brand consideration. These findings were of significant interest because Home Depot did in fact offer different brands and products from its main competitors. After all, Rona and Réno-Dépôt are sister stores and have a very similar product offering. In order to communicate this differentiating attribute, we developed a message architecture that focused on exclusivity and innovative products. Ten products that fit these two characteristics were identified (such as Fabritec, ready-to-assemble kitchens made in Quebec, Flip Face, Simple Mat, etc.) as being the most important for Quebec consumers in the present economy. The various communications messages would invite Quebec consumers to visit Home Depot and discover the unique solutions to their renovation needs.

2. Getting closer to Quebecers:

The link between Home Depot and Quebec consumers has become stronger since the launch of the "c’est beau" (“it’s beautiful”) campaign in 2007, giving Home Depot a seven-point gain in Commerce magazine’s annual survey of the most loved businesses among Quebec consumers. Leveraging this theme and integrating it to a new platform was essential. [Crossover Note 14] However, to increase its market share, we believed consumers needed to be further engaged with the brand. We also believed that consumers were looking for authenticity both in communications and at the product level. It was important for us to stay away from any conventional methods. We therefore developed a new platform where every message would involve and feature everyday people, and make each message candid, spontaneous, unscripted and authentic. Each authentic message would engage real life customers, bringing them closer to the brand, and helping them discover how Home Depot could cater to their individual needs through its extensive selection and exclusive products.

Our leitmotif quickly became “renovating the lives of Quebecers, one at a time.” In this way, all our tactics were based on communicating a solution to the real needs of real individual Quebec consumers. As a result, the phrase “Rénover sa vie, c’est beau“ (“Renovating your life is beautiful”) was chosen as the campaign slogan.




Section IV — KEY EXECUTIONAL ELEMENTS
a) Media Used

[See translation docs as "Attached Files" at the head of the case]

1- Television

2- Radio

3- Billboards

4- Flyer integration

5 – Web banners

6 – Promotional efforts

7 – Community program



b) Creative Discussion

The integrated campaign was designed as a cross-channel system. It allowed us to go beyond the simple "man-in-the-street" campaign and enter into an engaging dialogue with Quebec consumers on multiple platforms. [Crossover Note 28]

Over 120 clients were filmed and were presented with an extensive choice of products that answered their specific needs. We created over 120 different videos, which were professionally edited and made into 30-second product ads. The finished videos were emailed back to the participants with a friendly message suggesting that they should share their moment of “stardom” through their social networks. This was a very strategic method of putting the brand inside social networks, since Home Depot did not have a social media touch point. Moreover, through this strategy, the consumers themselves became brand ambassadors by pushing the message through their networks. This strategy also made the campaign less intrusive, since it was regular, everyday Quebecers who were sharing their proud moment. In the end, there were 120 different videos circulating within Home Depot’s customer network in Quebec. Each 30-second video also had an extended online version that was linked to the featured product’s information page at homedepot.ca. Nine out of the total 120 videos were aired on television.

Sixty 30-second radio spots were also developed in order to feature different promotions and events during the year. Once again, we focused our efforts on building consumer engagement. Through the Home Depot website at homedepot.ca/vedette (“vedette” being the French word for “featured star”), consumers were invited to share their ideas on what would renovate their lives. We chose relevant stories throughout the year and wrote radio spots in which Home Depot offered exclusive solutions and broad offerings that would “renovate the participant’s life.” The consumers that had their story chosen were given a gift card and an MP3 version of the message, allowing them to once again distribute it and make them a “star” within their social network.

The web banners were based on the same premise and involved engaging, interactive communications in which each big box and banner served the Home Depot promise. Consumers were invited to renovate their lives, their family’s lives, their colleagues, their cats, and so on.

In print, the "Renovate your life" theme and the "selection" message were coupled with inspiring visuals in line with the nature of the media. Even weekly flyers and the semi-annual Dreambook publications were aligned to the campaign.

The plan was enhanced by a large-scale “Moving Promotion,” which took into consideration that 13% of consumers who renovate start doing so in July when moving to new homes. We orchestrated an integrated promotion that took advantage of this opportunity and increased brand consideration during the peak traffic period.

In an effort to better integrate the local communities and have a meaningful impact in Quebecers’ lives, we brought forth the "Renovating your community" campaign. This campaign engaged the brand on a local level by involving Home Depot employees (associates). Local community organizations submitted major renovation projects that were shown to customers in store and online. Customers then voted on which projects should be carried out. Home Depot and its employees (associates) made a commitment to implement each project that received the most votes per community. Short videos were produced for each of the completed projects and posted at homedepot.ca.

Finally, we aimed at increasing store location awareness so a proximity-messaging component was developed to serve as road signs, indicating where to find the closest Home Depot stores. To extend our reach, we created dynamic banners for the Yellow Pages mobile application where each person who searched for a renovation store was shown the closest Home Depot and the available promotions.

In the end, every initiative and channel was developed to be integrated, to engage the Quebec consumer, and showcase the vast selection and exclusive products offered by Home Depot.



c) Media Discussion

As discussed above.



Section V — BUSINESS RESULTS
a) Sales/Share Results

As a result of this new campaign, Quebec has now become Home Depot’s fastest growing market. It has also gained substantial market share, making it second only to Rona. Consideration levels have increased by more than 22% and numbers of in-store visits have increased close to 43% compared to 2010.

(Please open Graphic_12.docx at the head of this case)

Sales directly related to our TV efforts have translated into sales increases of more than 30%. 

(Please open Graphic_12.docx at the head of this case)

The videos given back to participants and shared through social networks also generated 10,000 hits on Facebook. Advocacy was therefore being generated by everyday customers and conveyed to other potential customers without an obvious Home Depot involvement. The message was trustworthy because it came from everyday people and was not scripted.

The interactive online banners reached a click rate of more than twice the norm of .08%. It was obvious that the playful message that invited them to “renovate their lives” sparked their curiosity and pushed them to discover the extensive and exclusive product offerings. Lastly, the community projects received 600,000 votes, representing an increase of 175% from the previous year. Following up on their commitment, Home Depot participated in the renovation of 22 different community projects.



b) Consumption/ Usage Results


c) Other Pertinent Results


d) Return on Investment


Section VI — CAUSE & EFFECT BETWEEN ADVERTISING AND RESULTS
a) General Discussion

All the results were achieved while maintaining the same number of points of sale, the same product lines, the same services, the same pricing strategy, a stable media mix, and a budget that remained similar to previous years. All the while competitors were increasing the numbers of stores in the Quebec market, with Reno Depot adding two stores, and Rona increasing its stores by three.



b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:

Same



Pricing:

Same



Distribution Changes:

Same



Unusual Promotional Activity:

Not applicable



Other Potential Causes:

None