Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
January 2, 200711:08 PM

Home Depot Could Say, “You Can Do It... Do It Yourself”

I'm not much of a handy person. I can hardly switch a lightbulb (it's actually kinda sad), let alone fix a serious problem. There was a plumbing issue in the house tonight, so we did a quick jet over to the nearest Home Depot. As we were gathering up the parts needed, we managed to flag down a store associate to help us. Let's frame this first with two pillars of the Home Depot brand. The first is their tagline: You Can Do It. We Can Help. The second is what it says on every employee's uniform in the store (which is an apron) - it reads: Hi, I'm (fill in a first name here). I Put Customers First.

It takes some big brass faucets to wear an apron like that and be as indignant to all life matters in your near-vicinity as our associate was. He actually told a customer that he could not help them as he was busy sweeping up something. When we went over to ask him a question, he did not even take his eyes off of the merchandise he was re-stocking to look at us. I would say this Home Depot associate was rude, but I think he would have actually had to make some form of direct eye contact with us to make that kind of judgment call.

So this is another customer service rant? Hardly.

I picked up the book Citizen Marketers this afternoon. It is written by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba from the infamous Blog, Church Of The Customer. It got me thinking that as much as individuals are marketing on behalf of our brands, what are we doing - as marketers - to make sure that our employees are truly living the brand? Our best shot at Citizen Marketers is to make sure that our immediate circle of influence does, indeed, breathe the brand. There are probably hundreds of people waxing poetic about great experiences they had at Home Depot. But, as long as people like Mr. "Hi, I'm (fill in a first name here). I Put Customers First," are not living the brand, it makes the second pixel of separation (namely the Citizen Marketer) that much harder to empower.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Tamara Paton
    Mitch Joel

    Your Home Depot experience sounds a lot like the treatment investors received from then-CEO Bob Nardelli at their last annual meeting. Hopefully the new leadership will ensure a more consistent customer experience.

    Reply
  • Posted by Mitch Joel
    Mitch Joel

    Imagine if that was all my doing :) I was quite surprised to wake up and see that Home Depot CEO, Bob Nardelli, abruptly resigned last night.

    You can read all about it here:
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070103.whomedepot0103/BNStory/Business/?cid=al_gam_nletter_maropen

    Reply
  • Posted by Dave Boob
    Mitch Joel

    Hey Mitch:
    Love the show.
    I was part of an entire media company's rebrand recently. A place mat was created that had a glossy finish (to keep it intact). It outlined the new brand messaging and helped to reinforce what the new direction was. Every employee got one, they were all over the place.

    I still have mine! Very effective.
    Dave

    Reply
  • Posted by Alan B
    Mitch Joel

    I don't know if you'll get a chance to read this or not, but I felt that even though this post is almost two years old I needed to comment!

    After Nardelli was booted a few years ago, Frank Blake has taken great strides in returning the company to its original values.

    I hope you've had a chance to go back to a home depot recently and experience the new brand of customer service. I find the customer service to be incredible at my local Home Depot and I think you might find that yourself, too.

    Happy DiYing!

    Reply
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