Home Depot appears to do more community events than Lowe’s. These events work not only to attract more consumers but also to get them talking. Everyday I get a Google Alert about Home Depot and Lowe’s in the news. Using it as a scorecard, I would say that Home Depot is outperforming Lowe’s about 5 to 1.
Moreover, in addition to the continuing stream of love letters from Wall Street, which acts like a teenage boy with a crush, Home Depot seems to make a point of doing something good just about everyday. What they’re doing, though, isn’t just the usual Habitat program that many other companies do and which has become so overdone that it no longer makes the news. They’re doing other things, unique things that grab attention. Most recently, Home Depot has been doing hurricane workshops. What a brilliant way to humanize a big box.
Home Depot holds job fairs, donates supplies, performs service projects and helps little old ladies and vets. They also hold the usual in-store workshops, but the key difference between them and Lowe’s is that they promote their events through local media in addtion to doing more of them.
Although Lowe’s recently improved a playground, overhauled a bathroom in a local coliseum and planted a garden—all of which are great ideas—Home Depot gets more results because they let the media know what they are doing.
Smart use of events and local media is just another way that Home Depot stays ahead of Lowe’s. However, this doesn’t mean that Lowe’s needs to spend more money on TV to catch up with their competitor. Instead, they might be wise to consider exploring more local events that are supported with local PR.
Building materials companies can support both Lowe’s and Home Depot by bringing them ideas for events and supporting them.