In SMPL Q+A, we interview our experts on all things relevant to branding, design and simplicity. Here, we speak with Christie Ryan, Carolyn Griffin and Lea Chu about our work with The Home Depot, the largest home improvement retailer in the United States.
Why did The Home Depot engage Siegel+Gale?
Christie Ryan: Since their founding in 1978, The Home Depot has powered renovation for millions of customers. But the time had come for the brand to make some renovations of their own, particularly to the Pro Xtra Loyalty Program. Although the program was successful, The Home Depot wanted to amp up its value and establish a deeper personal connection with Pros by introducing a tiering structure. The Home Depot partnered with us to create a new value proposition and key messages, as well as name the newly established program tiers and benefits. Given the busy nature of Pros and The Home Depot employees, our work needed to facilitate quick interactions, delivering the newly tiered Pro Xtra promise simply. So, our reputation as The Simplicity Company was vital to the engagement.
How was the new value proposition developed?
Carolyn Griffin: Pro Xtra’s existing proposition was geared towards savings, which we recognized were important to Pros. But, through an extensive research process, we saw that The Home Depot had over-emphasized savings—at the cost of under-emphasizing the reward and larger impact of the Pro Xtra program. Our goal was to craft a value proposition that highlighted savings, while honoring Pros and appealing to them emotionally. The effect of the new value proposition, “Rewards and Benefits That Keep Building,” is three-pronged: it clearly explains what Pros can expect from Pro Xtra; it speaks to the act of building up benefits, which advances one’s tier status; and it recognizes and celebrates Pros by nodding to the idea of “building,” an expertise of many Pros.
What role did simplicity play in the engagement?
CG: Our work with The Home Depot epitomized our “Simple is smart” ethos. Research revealed that Pros did not respond to more abstract concepts. They appreciate propositions that are straightforward and down-to-earth. With that in mind, we developed a value proposition and tier names that are at the intersection of clarity and surprise—enabling Pros to easily understand the program and see it in a new light.
Can you speak to the naming process for the tier benefits?
Lea Chu: One of the big changes to the Pro Xtra Loyalty Program was the structure, moving from a single level of program membership to three distinct tiers. The new structure enables The Home Depot to tailor benefits and rewards to Pros with different needs. Unlike some other tiering programs popular with consumers, Pro Xtra is not about creating envy or desire between one tier and the next. Instead, the tiers are there to better serve Pros, and to celebrate them and their achievements.
Our naming process was designed around Pros, to ensure we understood them and could “speak their language.” The Home Depot helped us tap into their Pro customer base via discovery interviews, and, later, validation research. We learned that our Pros encompass a range of occupations, from contractors to interior designers. We also learned that their businesses spanned sizes, from independent workers to larger companies. One reality that was true for all of the Pros we engaged with was that they work fast and hard, and operate with hyper-efficiency. The loyalty program offering—and the language used to communicate it—needed to be clear, straightforward, and appreciative. The names we landed on for each of the three tiers (Member, Elite, and VIP) achieve that, and set the loyalty program up for success in meeting the wants and needs of an important group of The Home Depot customers.