I have purchased a few things at Dick’s Sporting Goods. For a generalist (it carries something for practically everything related to sports or outdoors), it has an interesting position in “Every season begins with Dick’s.”
Though it lacks an emotional punch, it promises about all you can promise if you want someone to consider you for everything sporting related.
So why should we be surprised that Dick’s announced that it is firing the PGA pros in its stores? Wait, Dick’s had PGA pros working in their stores? Apparently, Dick’s was trying to create a country club-esque atmosphere in its golf departments.
I assume that Dick’s finally discovered that people who actually play and are serious about golf do not think of Dick’s top-of-mind for their go-to golf source. The local specialty shop, Golfsmith or Golf Galaxy sure, but Dick’s? I guess, if you are a Sunday duffer, you might consider Dick’s, but it looks like it came to the realization that it did not need golf pros to sell to golf equipment.
Simply put, Dick’s is not a pro shop even if its golf department says it is. It is a generalist and, as such, it will never command the margins that a specialty shop can command (and be able to pay for a pro on staff). Even with a golf pro, Dick’s lacked authenticity. The pro was nothing more than a hope to make people forget they were in a sporting goods store.
This is what we call brand drift and it happens when the brand strategy is not completely thought out and/or implemented properly. Brands must answer the fundamental questions of who they are and who do they want to be.
In Dick’s case, it was trying to be something it wasn’t. It is a generalist and, for the most part, does it quite well. Every season begins with Dick’s – basketball, camping, baseball, hunting, running, fishing and golf. It’s who they are and what they do.