Bunnings builds a content marketing business

In Examples by Peter Gearin

The ubiquitous retail hardware chain has videos for almost every DIY job, creating more qualified customers.

Bunnings ads are everywhere on commercial television. They follow a familiar and consistent format – product sketches, a low-price promise, a friendly jingle and a smiling Bunnings employee confidently explaining the benefits of doing things yourself. During the warmer months, jolly people bearing Bunnings name tags are as familiar as Test cricketers.

The retail hardware goliath spends a fortune on advertising. It has to – selling goods at low prices means Bunnings needs to keep customers moving through the front doors of its 362 stores in Australia and New Zealand. Volume is king. It’s a formula that works well: since coming to national prominence in the ’90s, Bunnings now stocks 45,000 products and employs more than 40,000 people. Its revenues topped $11.5 billion last financial year, monstering the competition.

One recent Bunnings television spot, though, did not tell its customers about well-priced wheelbarrows or pot plants … it talked about videos. The cheery man in the red polo shirt and green apron spoke about how customers should visit the Bunnings website for all the information and inspiration they need to attack that weekend project.

It’s a content marketing play recently adopted by Fender – the storied guitar manufacturer. Rather than just make musical instruments, the company has started a 4K subscription video service called Fender Play, which features easy-to-follow, instructor-led guitar lessons, articles and tips as well as guides on how to play songs from the Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters and Coldplay and music across popular genres.

The thinking is simple, and perhaps sneakily ingenious. Fender makes great guitars, so it should also make great guitarists. If customers can find a way to do something better, they’re likely to keep doing it … over and over again. This will then become a hobby, and then become a habit.

For Fender, the strategy is to attract customers who become so loyal to the brand that they will only ever buy one make of guitar (and will likely try to convince their passionate guitar-playing friends to do the same). For Bunnings, it means creating a DIY army willing to spend weekends getting jobs done around the house … and making sure they can do them well. And they will keep coming back to Bunnings to get all the materials and tools ­– and information – they need to do this.

Bunnings’ free videos might be one of the most underrated assets of its entire global operation. They offer great practical advice and support for anyone looking to undertake any job around the home, large or small. They cover a lot of ground – there are hundreds of videos to help anyone with even the most most basic idea of DIY (even those who think it stands for “don’t involve yourself”).

As well as being available through the website, Bunnings’ videos can be viewed via its YouTube channel and are updated regularly. One post that shows the best way to render a brick wall has had almost 2 million views.

Like any good job involving Spakfilla, Bunnings’ content coverage is smooth and thick. Indeed, there are 40 videos that cover projects that just involve walls – from how to repair holes in plaster to how to cut holes in cornices. There’s even a 15-second video of team member Tony showing how to use a shovel to get out of a trench.

Most of the videos run from two to six minutes, are shot professionally with a handheld camera and are well edited. The DIY contemporary ensuite makeover video even uses timelapse to take a bathroom from shocker to stunner in 60 seconds. Each video page has a written step-by-step rundown to the process (with photos), a guide to how long the job will take (an hour or two, or a day or two) and a list of the tools you will need (and how much each item costs at Bunnings).

Aside from the detailed information, and how easy they make everything look, one of the best things about the videos is that each is presented by a smiling member of the Bunnings team rather than an outside professional. The hosts are not only comfortable in front of camera, they are well trained in explaining sometimes tricky DIY tasks. They are clearly good at what they do – reinforcing the notion that the people who greet you in the stores are experts in their field.

The DIY Advice section also includes instructional stories, such as a guide to selecting the right plant pot, a flooring cost calculator and colour, kitchen and flooring “planners”.

In fact, it’s difficult to think of a marketing vehicle that does a better job of showing what a business does rather than just telling.

Links & references

How Aussie “Joe the Gadget Man” became a content marketing hero

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