Constant improvement

Lowe’s message: “Never Stop Improving.” Well said.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, during a hearing held earlier this year, told Congress: “We’re not Sherwin-Williams paint. We don’t cover the earth equally.”

The exchange confirmed HCN’s position that slogans matter — a case we made in this space back in 2009. Among the notable slogans highlighted here were those of Sherwin-Williams (Cover the Earth), McCoy’s Building Supply (Go Build Something) and Lowe’s (Let’s Build Something Together).

Last month, Lowe’s introduced a new slogan that might work well in the National Intelligence apparatus, and certainly works in the home improvement industry: “Never Stop Improving.” 

In my opinion, we should write a thank you card to Tom Lamb, senior VP marketing and advertising for Lowe’s.

For one thing, Lowe’s new campaign — it launched Sept. 19 — spreads the message for continuous home improvement to a mass consumer audience. If you sell home improvement products for a living, you gotta like this effort. 

But imagine if Lamb’s team created a television commercial, or series of commercials, that complements the message, and shows home improvement spending in a warm, engaging and emotional light? That’s exactly what Lowe’s has done. 

And, in my opinion, they’re a nice improvement over previous Lowe’s TV commercials. It may sound like a sacrilege to the big blue’s competitors, but if you want to do a little something to boost the home improvement industry, put the link to the YouTube video on your Facebook page. Or tweet it. We did.

Of course, Lowe’s isn’t the only company that deserves praise for its commercials. Ace’s weekend-themed commercials are extremely engaging. And Home Depot has for years lifted itself by raising the banner of home improvement on TV.

For Lowe’s, the message works on multiple levels, according to Lamb.

“ ‘Never Stop Improving’ is not just a tagline — it reflects our customer’s mind-set about their homes and their lives,” he said. Watching the commercials, consumers have felt “motivated,” “inspired,” “confident” and “energized.” 

But more than that, Lamb said, the campaign is a “brand promise and our rallying cry for employees as we bring a continual stream of innovations to market over the next several years, like MyLowes.” MyLowes will soon be an online tool for consumers to manage their home products. It’s expected to launch next month.

The new Lowe’s campaign hits the air as the company’s comp-store performance trails its chief rival Home Depot. It comes at a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty. It comes as Wall Street is looking for signs from Mooresville, N.C., that the second largest home improvement retailer can extract results from its initiatives. 

The “Never Stop Improving” campaign is a good start. 

There is no monopoly on improvement. In this current issue, Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Do it Best Corp. — a company whose very name is a demanding slogan for improvement — shared some of its growth initiatives and some of its high-performing retailers as examples of “extreme growth.” And Mark Baker talks about improvements to the 80-year-old Orchard Supply Hardware. 

“Never Stop Improving” is a mind-set that some of the best operators bring to their stores. It’s not a matter of national security. But it’s definitely serious business.

— Ken Clark

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