Since its founding with a single store in 1921, Lowe's has grown to 2,200stores in the U.S. and Canada, with sales of $72.1 billion for the fiscal year 2019. Despite the global pandemic, Lowe’s sales growth continues to soar with a U.S. Comparable Sales Increase of 30.4% (as of Q3 2020). These achievements can in part be attributed to the brand’s behemoth video marketing-driven e-commerce sales engine.
Let's dive into the strategy behind that content.
Lowe’s Digital Personas
A notable quality of Lowe’s marketing strategy is its adherence -- even across a number of platform-specific personas we’ll look at later -- to a single, focused theme: a sense of gratitude. According to Lowe’s CMO, Marisa Thalberg:
The home is a thing that warrants gratitude. Gifting something for the home is kind of a gift for everyone.https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/lowes-names-taco-bells-marisa-thalberg-as-chief-brand-and-marketing-officer/
This approach is particularly pronounced in Lowe’s innovative DIY training programs that aim to build a DIY community among millennials. In the words of Lowe’s CEO, Marvin Ellison:
...our main goal was to take the fear out of DIY and equip millennials with the skills and confidence to take on new projects.https://www.forbes.com/sites/jefffromm/2018/03/27/marketing-to-millennial-new-home-buyers-lowes-innovative-diy-training-program/?sh=198a0bb41991
Since 2013, Lowe’s has been heavily invested in social media, making a concerted effort to connect with new demographics. By 2016, clever social marketing campaigns were allowing them to reach millions of millennials with campaigns that leveraged the hottest trends and platforms -- which makes a lot of sense, given that, in 2020, many millennials purchased their houses through Instagram.
Lowe's, to date, has focused the most attention on three platforms:
As many of the best marketers do, Lowe's assumes a unique persona for each of these platforms, tailoring their tone and messaging to fit the unique audiences and content consumption patterns of each.
Lowe’s’ YouTube page has amassed nearly 1 million subscribers and houses the majority of the company’s long-form video content, including brief instructional videos with tips and tricks for home improvement delivered through their ongoing video series, “The Weekender”.
Their channel serves as a hub for the content that is, arguably, most actively searched for by their customers and potential customers -- instructional videos and tutorials -- serving as an SEO-rich source of inspiration for home improvement (we look closely at what hub content is in this article).
Lowe’s customers may find this content during a search for specific information, such as a faucet installation tutorial; while watching that, they may subscribe to the channel, or follow that viewing with a quick scan of the other content on the page, leading them to discover Lowe’s’ “edutainment” content such as an episode of “Home Becomes”, which shows, step-by-step, how to transform an outdoor patio into an outdoor movie theater.
With nearly 800k subscribers and up to 607k plays per video, Lowe’s Instagram profile is a welcoming, family-oriented page. With a photo-to-video ratio of ~1.5:1, these videos, though not as information-rich as their counterparts on YouTube and Twitter, are fun and engaging. This short-form style of content works effectively towards establishing Lowe’s’ distinct voice as a brand appealing to young individuals and families alike on one of the fastest-paced platforms (from a content consumption standpoint).
With Instagram’s evolution into an e-commerce platform this past November, fans are now purchasing from Lowe’s while scrolling their feed.
With its 280 character limit, Twitter is an ideal platform for brands to instantly share digestible news and directly communicate with customers. Lowe’s uses theirs to:
- Provide useful tips to small businesses
- Give back to the community
- Spotlight small businesses
Often, their Twitter posts are often accompanied by videos that are aspect-ratio converted versions of Lowe’s’ YouTube videos, like the one below:
Helping the next generation of homeowners… with social?
Following this social video content strategy, Lowe’s successfully connects with the 23-28 DIY-interested demographic by delivering the information and inspiration they need for their home improvement projects. By producing video content that varies from instructional YouTube videos like how to install a bathroom vanity, to practical home-improvement advice presented by prominent NFL athletes like Christian Wilkins, Lowe’s successfully drives engagement through each level of their funnel, building product awareness, sparking ideas, and ultimately nurturing a passionate following for their brand amongst a broad range of customer segments.
According to Lowe’s CEO, Marvin Ellison, it's "incumbent" upon Lowe's to "really understand those customers (Millenials and Gen Z) and those customer segments.https://www.businessinsider.com/lowes-ceo-millennials-home-improvement-2019-1?op=1
Lowe’s believes that home improvement projects are the new form of “self-care,” a trend Lowe's believes will continue to fuel sales in 2021. According to The Insider, 64% of Lowe's' shoppers surveyed said that “their homes meant more to them today than they did a year ago”, a clear signal that their approach is on mark. Lowe's Executive Vice President of Merchandising Bill Boltz said in his recent interview with The Insider:
"As we look ahead, self-care and healthy habits will likely serve as new motivators for continued home improvement, even in a post-pandemic world”.https://www.businessinsider.com/lowes-home-improvement-self-care-projects-to-grow-sales-2021-1
Both for retailers and the consumer brands they carry -- online and on-shelf -- Lowes's carefully calibrated video marketing strategy can provide valuable demonstrations of:
- Providing a wide array of easily accessible video content (YouTube)
- Creating unique short-form videos adapted for quick consumption (Instagram)
- Enhancing articles with engaging video thumbnails (Twitter)
It’ll be interesting to see how Lowe's will use their social video content to keep consumers focused on DIY projects as Americans begin spending more time outside their homes in 2021.