Inside Orchard Supply Hardware's Brand Redesign
Lifestyle hardware and garden supply retailer Orchard Supply Hardware has launched a new creative platform led by brand consultancy Persuasion Arts & Sciences (Persuasion). The Lowe's-owned brand has built a reputation for convenience and great customer service, helping customers with small-scale home projects. Looking for a brand refresh, Orchard Supply turned to Persuasion to further connect with home owners and engage with its existing customers in California and Portland, Oregon, as well as new customers at six stores in Florida. In this interview with R. Josh Whitton, Orchard Supply Hardware's chief marketing officer, and Dion Hughes, Persuasion Arts & Sciences’ founder, we learn how a new brand platform — “Home, Hardware & Happiness” — was born.
Total Retail: Why did Orchard Supply Hardware believe a brand refresh was necessary?
Dion Hughes: There were a few reasons. First of all, competing on price alone wasn't working well. The big-boxes and Amazon.com are relentless, so Orchard really had to find a way to differentiate through store experience and product selection.
Second, Orchard was about to embark on a market expansion into Florida. In a similar expansion a few years earlier into Oregon, it started out strongly, but once the initial excitement of grand openings was over, traffic slowed.
And finally, though Orchard is a well-established member of its communities in California, customers were having a hard time articulating the role that Orchard had in their lives. We wanted to land a core idea that would give Orchard a strong connection with new markets, that would then translate back into its home market of California. And that idea had to go deeper than advertising. It really had to bring out that unique Orchard experience in everything it does.
TR: What did the company hope to accomplish with the refresh?
DH: Orchard's stated mission is to be America's neighborhood hardware store. It has a customer experience that lives up to that desire. The job of the brand refresh was to focus the meaning of Orchard and magnify it out into the world so that more people could discover Orchard for themselves.
TR: Can you talk about the process of finding a creative agency to work with on the refresh, and why Orchard Supply chose Persuasion Arts & Sciences?
Josh Whitton: We found Persuasion through another agency partner who recommended them as THE partner to help bring brand strategy to life in a way that aligned with our brand’s essence and values. We weren't disappointed.
TR: What was the reasoning for a multichannel marketing campaign to promote the brand refresh? How did Persuasion help with this?
DH: The brand refresh launched in Florida, an entirely new market for Orchard. So our marketing challenge was to turn an unknown newcomer into a welcomed, popular neighbor.
We needed to demonstrate an understanding of Floridians’ unique home improvement motivations and behaviors, and share a locally relevant point of view.
Our communications plan was built with this in mind. The specific elements that worked hard for us were interactive, intimate and grass roots (vs. one-way, mass channels.)
While we did use highly geo-targeted paid media including TV, radio and digital, we placed special emphasis on earned and owned media channels like social media and our circulars, and participating in neighborhood-level events with our own Orchard truck.
And our grand opening events were styled more as housewarming parties, inviting our neighbors to join us.
Persuasion led the development of the connections strategy and worked with all of Orchard’s partner agencies and in-house teams to ensure the strategy was implemented as intended across multiple touchpoints.
TR: What feedback have you gotten from your customers about the brand refresh?
JW: Customers see the new value proposition and branding as being much more true to the brand and what we strive to deliver every day. They consistently say it “feels like Orchard.”
TR: What business benefits has Orchard Supply realized as a result of the brand refresh?
JW: The brand positioning done as a part of Persuasion’s deliverables has been invaluable to us as we tell the Orchard story in a compelling and differentiated way. Their work allowed us to stand out in markets we were entering while also helping us set our go-forward strategy in existing markets.
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.