In the gentler times of 2014, Google introduced a new framework for its YouTube creators called the “Hero/Hub/Hygiene” strategy, changing video marketing forever.
In this article, we’re going to look at the HHH strategy and dissect the way one brand, in particular, is leveraging this framework to achieve higher brand awareness, invite new customers, and create brand loyalty. Not only in the building materials industry but in the broader digital marketing ecosystem, Home Depot’s video marketing strategy is one of the most successful implementations of the HHH strategy framework we’ve seen.
With the ever-increasing number of media platforms and ever-decreasing attention spans, marketing strategies aim to create diverse content to ensure the widest outreach. The HHH Strategy aims to organize this process into three major segments:
Each of these segments represents a specific marketing objective, such as reaching a greater audience to increase brand awareness (hero), reinforcing/clarifying the existing brand-image to build brand loyalty and advocacy (hub), and remaining present with existing customers to help them with immediate needs (hygiene).
The formula implies that a successful video marketing strategy should produce three distinct types of content -- one specific to each HHH segment -- in order to achieve each one's distinct goals. So, let's look at how Home Depot implements the HHH strategy in their video marketing.
This is the content that makes your brand stand out in its full glory, hence the name: “Hero.” It’s the ads you’ll see during the Super Bowl or at a splashy product launch event. It’s not something brands do every week or month, but rather just a few times annually, at key points of the year (i.e. when the brand sees the biggest opportunities to meaningfully impact customers, such as during a nationally televised event or leading up to an important holiday).
Think of it as a beautiful gift card you send to the world on major holidays -- it’s meant to feel unique, exclusive, and leave a lasting impression.
The most distinct common characteristic of hero videos is their easily identifiable -- and thus recognizable -- protagonist or element that the audience can immediately relate to. In this Home Depot hero content example, the commercial focuses on a famous (and highly relatable) character, Ron Swanson, from the popular TV show Parks and Recreation. As an exclusive sketch on Jon Oliver’s late-night show, this video was practically guaranteed to have a sensational and lasting online presence. Also, is it just us, or does the guy on the right sound a bit like Bob Belcher to you too?
On the other hand, “Hub” videos are something that you create and release more frequently. Think of these videos as your brand’s face; you make them to tell the world who you are, what your values are, and why others should care. This content aims to generate a consistent but not over-abundant (or worse, spammy) media presence.
They’re like monthly “thank you” cards that remind your existing customers about you and make new ones feel welcome as well.
A well-executed Hub video is designed to reestablish and reaffirm brand loyalty through the representation of the company’s values, the type of products or services it provides, and/or the way those offerings impact the customer’s life. It’s not sensational the way Hero content is, but it, too, can have broad appeal and make lasting impressions. Take a look at this "Thank You To Our Associates" video from Home Depot. It captures our shared experience of the challenging year that 2020 was to convey a relatable story about how much Home Depot cares about its customers and the community.
Why on earth would this part of the HHH formula be called “Hygiene”? Simply put, because, just like brushing your teeth, it’s maintenance you should do routinely (my dentist won’t agree, but I’d say producing a regular flow of Hygiene content is even more important than brushing). These videos are the workhorses that keep your brand running. It’s the type of content you put out on your YouTube channel and embed links to in your Instagram stories. It’s extraneous content; it’s not just “noise”; in fact, it’s far from it. Arguably, this is the content that’s most important to your existing customers.
It’s a stack of business cards that your brand is carrying wherever it goes.
Take a look at how Home Depot treats their YouTube channel, where they post an average of five videos a day! This volume and sophistication of “Hygiene” video content production creates an indelible impression of an active brand that cares about its customers.
Hero Hub Hygiene
In less than six years, the Hero, Hub, and Hygiene strategy has earned its place in the playbook of contemporary content marketing, helping brands take their marketing campaigns and videos to the next level.
If you’re looking for ways to kick-start or improve your existing video marketing campaign, the HHH formula might be the best place to start. Producing this volume of carefully calibrated video content may sound like more work than building a house, but it might become the driving force behind your brand’s next successful marketing campaign.