Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Digital Makeover - just in time for Spring

This is a great case study that was presented at Ad Age's 2009 digital conference. It shows how Scotts Miracle-Gro looked to digital to architect a web-led strategic shift, transforming the brand's focus from product-centric to consumer-centric. The transformation provides a wonderful platform for dynamic, communal and targeted content. This is a place where experts and gardening enthusiasts can rub shoulders, help each other out, learn and share their passion.

A couple of lessons worth thinking about:
  • Define the business you are in from the consumer mind-set. Scott's went from defining their business as "products & services for the lawn and garden" to creating an emotional connection with the consumer "enabling dreams and creation of a homescape".
  • Create a pull vs push strategy. Scott's moved their messaging strategy from unilaterally pushing out information to creating opportunities for consumers to engage with the content through blogs, uploading of photos, and posing questions to experts. This enabled both a personal experience while building a vibrant community.
  • Build engagement vs awareness. In designing the site, Scotts invited the consumer to co-create the desired on-line experience. As a result, they created a site that is easy to navigate, is a trusted guide and resource. The site is also very interactive. For example, based on your specific geography, you can find the right products for growing a great lawn, learn about birds in your area and how to attract them or discover what pests are common to your region and how to combat them.
  • Make it inspirational vs aspirational. By providing tools and discussion forums, novice gardeners learn from others. A supportive community helps overcome fears or barriers and celebrates successes. Several groups have been formed, for example, first time home owners, pet owners, green gardeners, etc.
The investment Scott's is putting behind their brand seems to paying off. Scotts 2Q profit climbed 33% . In a press release today, Chairman and Chielf Executive Jim Hagedorn stated, "In the face of a deteriorating economy, the lawn and garden category continues to show its resiliency, and we continue to see the power of our brands."

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