CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA: Lowe’s has launched Open House, a digital newsroom that will take consumers behind the scenes at the brand.
About a year in the making, Open House was a "cross-functional" effort involving IT, recruiting, marketing, corporate comms, supported by an external agency, Charlotte-based Mode, according to Colleen Penhall, VP of corporate comms.
"People want to know more about the companies they shop with beyond the products and services they sell," Penhall said. "At Lowe’s, we are trying to build deeper and more meaningful relationships with our customers and, ultimately, more brand loyalty and advocacy."
Open House serves as a digital avenue through which Lowe’s can meet consumers "where they are," she added.
The newsroom launched with stories such as the refurbishment of a Detroit school gym that was made possible because of a partnership between Lowe’s and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
"We want to share authentic content they will not only share across channels, but they also feel is inspiring and relevant to them," Penhall said.
Social weighed heavily in the team’s decision-making and the way consumers share "snap-able, bite-size" content, but long-form storytelling isn’t off the table either.
"[It’s not] a cookie-cutter approach," Penhall said. "We approach it from a variety of different ways people consume content and taking those [lessons] and applying them in the future."
Lowe’s marketing division recently launched "The Weekender," a 10-part DIY web series that shows homeowners how they can tackle a project in a weekend on a small budget, hosted by Monica Mangin, co-author of the East Coast Creative blog.
The retailer also launched an app on Apple TV, and made content available on Amazon Fire TV and Roku TV.
Rather than spearhead a campaign, Open House will serve primarily as a branding tool and "give people more insight into what went into the strategic thinking at Lowe’s," Penhall said.
In the run-up to the official launch this week, Lowe’s soft-launched a month ago so employees could engage with the platform and share content, as well as catch any technical bugs.
Penhall characterized it as a "continuation of efforts" to increase storytelling around the brand. After ramping up those internal initiatives, Lowe’s started "conscientious[ly]" externalizing storytelling in the last 12 months.