Rona shows the fun that comes with DIY know-how

The hardware retailer combines craftsmanship and kookiness to solidify its status with experts (and those who want to be one).
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Rona is using the camaraderie of DIYers and the joy of undertaking a project to solidify its place as a preferred destination for renovation experts – and hopefully add more people to those ranks.

“For Those Who Know” is directly targeting experts, who are great at fixing up their homes despite being a little less adept at social and conversational skills, such as not mixing or garbling metaphors (“The early bird is worth two in the bush,” “Rome wasn’t built in a ditch”), or asking a simple question without sounding suspicious of a friend who has come over to lend a hand.

Compared to parent banner Lowe’s, Rona has traditionally had more of a legacy with DIYers, with its smaller footprint stores having a community feel while still offering materials like lumber.

But during the pandemic, more people have discovered DIY renos as they’ve had more time to hone their skills, while spending more time at home has driven a desire to improve their spaces. Brian Gill, CD at Sid Lee, which handled the creative, says “For Those Who Know” is aimed at a segment that enjoys ripping things apart and putting them back together again, “talking to guys who really enjoy renos,” and “to celebrate the joy of working with your hands” – mixing the pride in knowing your craft with the fun of doing a project with friends. From brief to production, it’s a project that was six months in the making.

Catherine Laporte, VP of marketing and e-commerce at Lowe’s Canada, says the creative approach goes after a particular mindset, versus a particular product.

“The challenge we have in our industry is that the home reno market is highly fragmented,” Laporte says. “The reason you choose one brand over the other is, first, location, and the other, price-point.” When those things are equal, and with a lot of retailers carrying the same brands, it becomes about winning share of minds and hearts.

However, there is still a role for product-focused marketing, especially in areas where specific products are already the focal point: the brand has also re-aligned its flyer strategy to feature a product selection that speaking to the heavy DIY audience a bit more.

While the campaign is aimed at people who already know what they’re doing, Laporte says there’s also a great opportunity to guide the growing number of people who are less experienced towards becoming experts.

This is being done by amplifying the content it has been adding to its channels, such as building tutorials through YouTube – which has become more important as consumers have had less interaction with in-store experts or live workshops. With the surge of ecommerce, Rona is also further developing an online conversational platform created with iAdvize, adding video chat features to give opportunities for both light and heavy DIYers to engage with brand experts.

The focus on expertise also builds on Lowe’s recent outreach to professional builders with VIP Pro, a cross-banner mobile app and loyalty program that offers discounts to contractors and those buying materials in bulk.

Laporte says the ad spend for the campaign is comparable to previous fall efforts, its second-busiest time of year. The media mix, however, has shifted a bit: it has stepped down its radio presence slightly, in favour of more integrated digital audio platforms. The campaign will also be running on TV, digital and OOH, with Starcom handling the media buy.