You’ve heard me rail about the fact that advertising agencies do a brilliant job of creating campaigns that drive clicks, but too often fail to develop long-term relationships between brands and consumers. You may have even heard me audibly cringe when I learn about “top Social Media campaigns” that measure hype and sex appeal rather than impact and participation.
How do you create a communications program that combines the best aspects of the sexiest advertising campaigns with the consistent, contextual, respectful and relevant gruntwork embodied by relationship management, a.k.a. public relations?
Home Depot (HD) seems to have figured it out. Last week the hardware retailing giant rolled out Home Depot’s How-To Community, which connects Do-It-Yourselfers of all skill levels in one place on the Web.
In addition to the peer-to-peer support you’d expect in this type of community, HD invited a select group of tenured Home Depot Store Associates to answer members’ product and project questions.
And here’s the kicker: those HD Store Associates will not only answer “DIY” questions in the hosted forum, but, with the Customer Service Dept’s ability to monitor for response opportunities across the Web, the in-store professionals will also be empowered to respond to users — while they’re working in the stores! — in the online zones where the questions are being asked, even outside the HD site.
So, you have a question about how-to prep a room for a new paint job? Tweet about it, or visit any of a number of well-known DIY sites online, or visit Home Depot’s own new community. Regardless of where you post your question, you can reasonably expect HD’s resident expert, PatInPaint, to either write or videotape a 1 -2 minute response, right from within the Paint section of his homebase HD store in Atlanta.
PatInPaint’s helpful instructional video will be posted for you in the forum you’re hanging out in, but may also be posted in the Home Depot DIY Community, and/or on their Facebook Page, and/or in their YouTube channel.
Now – think back to the Old Spice campaign. Remember how psyched we all got, when the sexy spokesman responded via video directly to our tweets … and subsequently disappeared from the scene forever?
Think about how much harder – but more relevant and helpful – is Home Depot’s approach than Old Spice.
- They’ve got the 1:1 responsiveness.
- They’ve got custom videos.
- They’ve got maximum SEO potential by echoing content across the socialsphere.
- They’ve got a singular place where all the best stuff can be aggregated
- And at the same time, they have loosened the reins enough that hardcore DIYers can become stars in their own right, at the How-To Community site, as they interact with fellow craftsmen, with HD experts, and with newbies alike.
Home Depot has enabled community, and hopes to fill their new How-To Community site with content (and users) by being actively, relentlessly helpful, across the rest of the web.
Participation is marketing.
Bookmark this post as a reminder to check back on HD’s valiant, groundbreaking effort. I expect we’ll see they’ve built something lasting.
DISCLOSURE: SHIFT Communications is a consultant to Home Depot.
Posted on: October 25, 2010 at 12:26 pm By Todd Defren