It’s not cool, it’s not edgy and has very little to do with design.
It might just be a life stage thing: new homeowner, fatherhood etc but I’ve admired the Bunnings brand for some time now. Sometimes I don’t hit the mute button during the cricket when one of their ads comes on. I’m genuinely interested in what Tony at Balgowlah branch has to say about plumbing technology (I told you this was my problem). But then I’ll be in store and the way Tony really believes that I can fix my dodgy cistern is incredible. Don’t you know who I am, what I’m capable of? Probably he inwardly dies a little, but by the end of the conversation I’ll have way more information than I need and it might even involve a downsell from the irrelevant piece of piping I have in my hand. These lovely souls are not sales people, they are truly obsessive DIYers who’ve smashed some personal goals with a career that asks them to share their incredible knowledge of shower heads and hammer drills. It’s like chatting to your granddad or your tradie uncle whose eyes light up at the mention of an inlet valve. Not always fun I know but just take a moment to appreciate the passion, the experience, the knowledge base.
The point is that the Bunnings brand perfectly encapsulates everything about the what, how and why of a strong brand. There is no disputing the top to bottom unity of purpose, from TV to shop floor to Wednesday night DIY drill workshop. The genius of celebrating the likes of Tony on television is a perfect demonstration of what Bunnings is about: he is a genuine brand warrior! I suspect he even scripted, shot and edited it too. It’s the authenticity that’s key here.
Lowest prices are just the beginning they say. It’s a bit of a bland line but it is true. Personally I prefer the simple enthusiastic jingle “Bunnings Ware-house!” In fact it doesn’t really feel like price is the main draw anyway. What I want out of this experience is help from a genuinely enthusiastic human who won’t let me go until I’m foolishly over-confident that I’ve got this. The task is virtually completed in store. And if I’m limited only to Greek or Afrikaans Tony’s got me covered there too. Man crush? Hmmm that’s a stretch…
OK, so I don’t agree with the corporate giant overpowering local businesses, the sourcing of questionably cheap products made in poverty-stricken countries, and overly aggressive pricing policies that make it impossible for others to compete. There’s the dark side, and I’m not happy about that.
But as a brand they are to be congratulated for their authenticity and totality. They say what they do and they do what they say. Plus they provide an instore experience which in retail land goes a long way to future-proofing their business. Unlike the recently departed Toys R Us who’s conversion to despatch warehouse represented retail suicide.
And the cherry on the cake is of course the ubiquitous sausage sandwich. With onions and BBQ sauce, natch. Hits the spot every time!