Ecobee launches first big marketing push

A new spot aims to move the brand beyond functional messaging and in front of more consumers.

Ecobee is introducing its brand to consumers in a major way for the first time since its 2007 debut, launching a digital spot that aims to bridge a performance message with a larger brand promise.

The homegrown, smart home devices and thermostat company worked with Toronto-based video production agency Tendril on a new film, which introduces its latest iteration of the SmartThermostat with voice control to consumers who may not even be considering the smart home category, says Ecobee CMO and chief revenue officer Jackie Poriadjian-Asch.

Tendril was tasked with helping Ecobee “enhance [its] visual communication” and produce a film that speaks to its “mission to make it easy and affordable for homeowners to reduce their environmental footprint while enhancing the way they experience comfort,” according to a press release from the agency.

The resulting creative showcases Ecobee’s sleek engineering by attempting to visualize the effect a SmartThermostat has on both the home and the environment. It’s the first significant piece of work to drop since Poriadjian-Asch was hired on as the brand’s first CMO last year.

While much of the smart home category leans on performance, Poriadjian-Asch says Ecobee felt there was a “lack of inspiration” across the sector.

“There’s a lot of features and functions talk, but not a lot of people who are just creating beautiful, inspiring products,” she says. “The opportunity and the challenge that we presented to Tendril was, ‘How can we create a beautiful film that marries our promise with our performance?’”

Creatively, the film aims to capture the flow of sensory experience and the co-dependency of internal and external environments, she says, while extending the brand’s message beyond the home into “the home planet at large.”

The company has only recently made selling directly to consumers a bigger priority. Early on, it focused on growing its B2B business with contractors, an approach reflected in the more functional appearance of its early designs. But as the smart home category has grown and consumers have become more comfortable installing and using devices themselves, it was time to move beyond pure functionality, Poriadjian-Asch says.

Competing against players like Honeywell and Google’s Nest Labs (the category leader), Ecobee has nevertheless scooped up 30% of the market  an accomplishment that may be due, in part, to having been the first to launch smart thermostats more than a decade ago. The company is currently on track to reach its goal of $1 billion in sales by 2020, says Poriadjian-Asch.

On the media side, Ecobee has prioritized earned over paid opportunities. It has made working with tech reviewers and journalists a focal point of its efforts, believing that community can serve as its influencer base. It launched its latest product with more than 20 “strong reviews” from the tech community, a strategy based on “amplifying the voice of the community that was the most relevant as we know through our customer base.”

As for the campaign film, it has run with what Poriadjian-Asch calls a “more targeted mass strategy.” It has appeared on The New York Time’s technology and smarter living sections, where its core audience tends to go for both inspiration and expertise. That has enabled it to hit several million, hyper-targeted consumers (primarily heads of families) who have an affinity for tech and who are looking for companies to help manage the chaos of their everyday lives, she says.

In addition, spend has been put towards Google search and amplification on YouTube and other core social channels.

The campaign launched on June 3 and remains in market.

Ecobee worked with Archetype on PR and Mullen Lowe Mediahub on media.