Going For Gold / by Andrew Galvin

When you’re up against a true champion, going for gold is always a long shot.

Much has been written on the demise of Woolworths’ big-box hardware chain Masters – from having the wrong strategy, products, target market (pitching at women not tradies), to having the wrong locations.

But here’s something to consider (with a nod to the Olympics) – was Woolworths only thinking of gold?

In Australia, Bunnings is the undisputed ‘champion’ in hardware – it is the ‘generic’ for hardware. Think cola, think Coke. Think lightening fast, think Bolt. Being the generic for your category is the holy- grail for any brand. It’s rare that such a market leader is overtaken unless it self-implodes.

Yes, it’s all well and good having a crack at the market leader, but from a standing start, outside of its core business and at a huge cost, Woolworths should have asked itself: Can we possibly win – and if so, at what cost?

Bunnings was always going to stand up and be counted. If anything Bunnings became more focussed on strengthening its No.1 position (not distracted by its challenge as Woolworths might have hoped).

Was picking up silver ever an option? Sometimes when you’re up against a true champion, going for gold is always a long shot, so you have to be satisfied with silver – just ask Justin Gatlin.

Credit: Chicago Tribune