The Style Challenge
How’s this sound to you? You get a generous THD gift card, new products and 30 days to transform your home with DIY projects. And in exchange, you’ll blog the transformation?
YES, sign me up!
This is how we approached the design of our social influencer programs at The Home Depot: designing a deal that we’d like to participate in ourselves. (Hint hint teeeeam.)
In 2011 when we kicked off the program, our editorial budget was a big fat $0. But were able to finagle some gift cards and products out of our merchant partners, and thus the humble beginnings of The Home Depot Style Challenge!
Fast forward to 2018. Now The Style Challenge is an ingrained tradition at The Home Depot, with annual variations for patio, holiday and Halloween. With new video budgets, the Style Challenge now produces a renovation series for YouTube.
Let me walk you through how a challenge works!
One of the core principles of The Style Challenge program is to truly surprise and delight our participants at every step of the Challenge. Bloggers have agreed to participate when the mystery box arrives at their door with the prompt for the Challenge. We work about half a year ahead of the calendar, so one of the first goals of the box is to psych participants up to decorate for Christmas during July! We include a small seasonal gift — usually orange — to help bloggers think forward to the season.
And of course, it doesn’t hurt at all that our boxes are super Instagrammable with a deliberate 1:1 ratio!
Next, our participants have 30 days to complete their challenge! Below one of our favorite bloggers, Kristin Jackson of The Hunted Interior, transforms her backyard several times over. Watch in awe as she crafts a live edge table, builds a bocce court, and likes it so much that she updates her porch with artificial turf for her Challenge the following year.
Kristin Jackson also participated in our Holiday Style Challenges, each year coming up with fantastically creative ways to use everyday ornaments found at The Home Depot.
If you've read this far, you may be interested in some of the nitty gritty details behind what makes this influencer content marketing series great. Allow me to share!
WHAT SETS THE HOME DEPOT STYLE CHALLENGE APART
Our #1 Goal is making sure that all participants are happy customers, and we're empowered to go the extra mile. So yes, if you're an Atlanta blogger whose merchandise was accidentally damaged during shipping, you can be sure that we'll drive *personally* down to your home to swap out the missing pieces. And maybe bring you a free grill when we do it. (True. Story.)
We put the emphasis on owned content creation - each Style Challenge publishes on The Home Depot's blog exclusively. This enables us to use proprietary image tracking tools to measure the social reach of images as they go viral on Pinterest and Facebook, and enables the use of cookie-based retargeting.
Many influencer programs leverage a blogger's audience to serve an ad. This can feel forced at times. We'd much rather share the DIY reveal on our platform.
Bloggers are creating their #HomeDepotStyleChallenge projects at the same time while sharing sneak peeks via hashtags. This real-time quality is first of all fun to follow, but it's also a great way for the DIY community to drive traffic between each other's websites.
We get SUCH good ideas for DIY projects from our participants! So many, in fact, that we started a licensing program. Today you'll find blogger ideas everywhere from in-store workshops to store signage.
A program like this can’t exist without some extremely awesome people! So a first shoutout to Caroline Inge McDonald who started the original program with me; and Whitney Curtis and Cody Thompson who manage it today. Craig Allen for copyediting every word. Laura Sullivan, Chanté LaGon, Mary Katherine Rordam, Raven Bennett, PR agency MSL for blogger outreach.
We have hundreds of bloggers to thank! But in particular Kristin of The Hunted Interior whose images are above.
Creative agency 22squared for the beautiful box designs.
Browse #HomeDepotStyleChallenge on Instagram
✋ CAUTION! Images below have not been moderated for content and could contain … well, not The Style Challenge.