The Home Depot Style Guide: How You Can Become A Style Guide [opinion]

Home Depot Style Guide

Five years ago when I was buying drywall for a home renovation, I never would have pegged Home Depot as a place I’d go to for style advice. I still might not today, but the mass merchandiser is working toward changing my mind. Home Depot is now promoting fall home projects with its Fall 2012 Style Guide, an iPad app and online publication that puts fresh ideas into the minds of do-it-yourselfers. This edition is a follow-up to the retailer’s Spring and Summer Style Guides.

The Huffington Post loves it because it includes advice on how to “cozy up your home,” says writer Michelle Manetti. One slideshow features several wreath options, including a succulent wreath and a gardener’s wreath, designed using a trowel and some gardening gloves. That wreath slideshow clicks through to a “Wreaths For Any Occasion” Pinterest board, which shares more ideas for creating unique wreaths. It’s not about the products Home Depot sells. It’s about the feeling the products give you when you create something with them for your home. 

This is content marketing from a multi-billion dollar company. While the Style Guide is highly interactive and surely took some tech-savvy skills to create, the messages and themes coming through can help guide other retailers’ ideas on consumer trends. What if your eNewsletter, website, Pinterest, Facebook page or Twitter account became a style guide for your customers? Where is your customer’s head right now when it comes to design?

One section, which features ideas for sprucing up kitchen areas without taking on a major renovation, is called Improve Rather Than Move. Is that where your customers fall on the home design spectrum? Then give them more sprucing, less overhaul.

Here are some other ideas on how to provide the design and style your customers are looking for.

  • Make it achieveable. Home Depot’s Style Guide features small projects that aren’t too overwhelming.
  • Make it broad-based. Don’t rely too heavily on that animal-print trend. It’s going to have a limited audience.
  • Ask and then tell. Your customers can tell you the trends they like, either through their purchases or from the feedback they give you. Once you know what they like, show them how to do it.

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