RadioShack (AKA ‘The Shack’) Seeks New, Hipper Image

Discussion
Aug 05, 2009

By George Anderson

RadioShack
has had an image hurdle to get over and the consumer electronics chain
is hoping it can do just that with a rebranding campaign promoting itself
as “The
Shack.”

Lee Applbaum, chief
marketing officer for the retailer, said in a press
release that the company is looking for its national
digital, print and television campaign to speak “to consumers in a fresh,
new voice…that reinforces RadioShack’s authority in innovative products,
leading brands and knowledgeable, helpful associates.”

Not everyone,
however, is buying RadioShack’s attempt at a makeover. David Coursey,
writing for the Tech Inciter column on the PC
World
website,
equates “The Shack” campaign
to a man trying to hide his baldness with a “comb-over.”

Mr. Coursey,
who admitts to calling RadioShack “The Shack” as well as “RadShack” and “RadioSchock,” writes, “I
don’t think the name change will do anything but point out that Radio
Shack isn’t cool anymore. ‘The Shack’ connotes nothing of what the company
sells and is, if anything, considerably down market. It’s like the company
wants to connect with teens and doesn’t quite know how.”

Drew Neisser,
chief executive of the brand marketing agency Renegade, told The
Dallas Morning News
, “If consumers are really
already using The Shack, then why not commit fully [and change the name
of the stores]? The only reason I can think of is that they are worried
about abandoning the awareness and any positive equity remaining with
their old name.”

Discussion
Questions: What do you think of RadioShack’s rebranding
campaign under “The Shack” name? Should the chain commit fully and change
the name of its stores to “The Shack?”

Join the Discussion!

23 Comments on "RadioShack (AKA ‘The Shack’) Seeks New, Hipper Image"

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Marc Gordon
Guest
Marc Gordon
8 years 3 months ago

What’s in a name? Not much if that’s the only change. And while RadioShack’s name change might be more than just lipstick on a pig, I have to wonder whether anyone really cares.

Mel Kleiman
BrainTrust

Anything that the Shack does is better than what they have been doing. At least they are doing something.

If they play the sponsoring of Lance Armstrong and his team next year right, that could be the real winner.

Len Lewis
Guest
Len Lewis
8 years 3 months ago

“The Shack”–sounds like a surf bar at the beach. But maybe they can use a hipper name to highlight certain sections in the store.

Susan Rider
Guest
Susan Rider
8 years 3 months ago

I agree, they have to do better than a name; rebranding is much more. They have a good product and niche but have not taken advantage of it lately.

Rick Myers
Guest
Rick Myers
8 years 3 months ago

The reason I used to go to RadioShack was for small parts for my stereo and computer. I never really bought anything else there. Now that they have changed their assortment, I see no difference between what they carry and what Walmart carries. So I have no reason to go there, no matter what they call the store.

Robert Heiblim
Guest
Robert Heiblim
8 years 3 months ago
RadioShack is trying hard. They are doing and have done many good things. It appears they are settling on a positive direction in their wireless offering. They have strongly improved themselves operationally. On the other hand, they are still struggling with relevance. Cost cutting and shrinking is not a path to long term success. Now comes this marketing effort. Unlike the sponsorship of the Lance Armstrong racing team which is a great move associated with a revitalized athlete now seen as a humanitarian and hero, this one smacks of not understanding their audience. Sure, folks call all manner of things by cute nicknames. This does not mean executives should call themselves by them, nor does it translate to store brand. Indeed, the reaction of college students in a quick unscientific survey finds them viewing this move like seeing their father “try to be hip.” In other words, while they may not care, it is producing exactly the opposite effect making RadioShack even less hip. Now that does not mean they will not shop there, just that this effort is wasted. As others point out, what is Radio Shack? What is their unique value proposition to the consumer? How are they… Read more »
Bruce Buckley
Guest
Bruce Buckley
8 years 3 months ago

How about eShack?

Phil Rubin
BrainTrust
8 years 3 months ago

It’s easy to look at RadioShack, a long train wreck in the making over the past ten plus years, and be a naysayer but I would not best against them.

If you look closely, the company, under Lee Applebaum’s marketing leadership, is taking the right steps to make the brand relevant again. It started (publicly) with the sponsorship of Lance Armstrong’s team and this is really only the second step. The follow-up of their new advertising campaign will be yet another several steps and this will result in re-introducing the brand into consumers’ consideration sets.

Regardless of what is says on the store, people know (and will know better) what “The Shack” is and that alone should drive traffic. There are fewer choices for consumer-electronics brick and mortar and even fewer where there are acceptable service levels and expertise. Sorry Best Buy.

If The Shack can update some stores and tie in all these activities directly to consumers, though intelligent and relevant offerings and communications, they can win and win big. Just like Lance.

Gregory Belkin
Guest
Gregory Belkin
8 years 3 months ago

A name change is a good first start for RadioShack but they have a lot of work to do if they are going to rehab their business. In this challenging economy, the only question left is whether it is too late or not.

Marty Walker
Guest
Marty Walker
8 years 3 months ago

RadioShack without a doubt is way behind the ball on rebranding itself but as most know, it will need to go beyond a name change to be lasting. RS needs to find itself again as a destination; in other words why does one go to RS today? I would hope there are assortment shifts coming, and possibly a product or brand exclusive or two that they can hang their hat on. As far the critics, I wouldn’t worry too much about the geek writer snobs; RS will never win them over anyway.

Brian Kelly
Guest
8 years 3 months ago

Store ID changes are expensive. No matter what marketing wants to say, it is what happens in the store that matters.

The legacy of new names, logos or taglines without alignment by merchants and operators is ugly. As Charlie the Tuna used to be told: “Sorry Charlie®. StarKist® doesn’t want tuna with good taste, StarKist® wants tuna that tastes good….”

And that’s why we say, “retail ain’t for sissies.”

Carol Spieckerman
BrainTrust

I don’t hate the new name and I think a name change might start the ball rolling toward shifting perception. RadioShack’s previous moniker evoked the days of yesteryear when the battery club was a hot loyalty program (I was a proud member!) and when the stores actually sold radios. The Shack allows RadioShack to move in multiple directions and it has a younger feel to boot!

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

Techies have been calling RadioShack “The Shack” for as long as I can remember. You go to The Shack when you need something for your computer, video system, phone or audio and you are not exactly sure what you need. (Notice–I didn’t say “radio.”)

Certainly, the service and expertise at Best Buy is good when you are making the broader purchase (i.e. a computer or flat screen), but it does start to fall down when you need something more specific. That is when you go to The Shack. They solve your problem, give you the parts you needs and you are on your way in a few minutes.

This branding move is great. What took them so long? “Radio” has been irrelevant since long before “TV” became “video.”

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

There must have been a typo here, I think the head should have read “New, Hippy-er Image.” But back on point, if “The Shack” was indeed something that fans called it, then I was completely unaware of it…I don’t know if this says more about me (out of the loop) or them (out of everyone’s consciousness), but I don’t see any value in this move: maybe a new image, but not THIS new image.

Doug Fleener
Guest

When I first scanned the article this morning in The Wall Street Journal, I was thinking how smart it was to change the RadioShack name. Then I discovered this is really just an advertising campaign.

I will guess after all the money is spent that those who call it the Shack will still do so, and those who call it RadioShack will still do so. They should have been willing to take a bigger risk to create a stronger future.

By the way, when I think of “The Shack,” I want to order fried clams and a milkshake!

Sandy Miller
Guest
Sandy Miller
8 years 3 months ago

It’s time for a name change. Most of what they sell is not a radio. The real issue is will they carry a new, exciting visual image into their many stores?

Mark Burr
Guest
8 years 3 months ago

RadioShack is and always has been a great ‘niche’ place to find that unusual connector or cable, etc. It’s never been a great place for service or experience, but that’s just my opinion.

I don’t think the name change delivers anything to change the image or create the thought in any consumer’s mind that they can or will become the first choice for some – any – product. In the ‘e’ world, they have been left behind years ago.

Ted Hurlbut
Guest
Ted Hurlbut
8 years 3 months ago

Changing the name is a positive step toward rebranding the stores, but they’ve got far more work to do than merely changing the name.

Marge Laney
BrainTrust
8 years 3 months ago

Funny, last weekend my husband and I stopped into our local RadioShack. He went in and I stayed in the car which I think is issue that they need to address. Anyway, while he was in the store I started wondering why they were still around. When my husband returned, I asked him and he said “I’m not sure, except this is the only convenient place I can get all this stuff (connectors, cables, etc.) There’s a lot of potential there, I’m just not sure changing the name to “The Shack” was really necessary.

Jerry Gelsomino
BrainTrust

Come on! We have all commented on RadioShack ‘anouncements’ many times before, so what’s new? Like Sears, RS every few months comes up with a new strategy–mostly advertising driven–that means nothing to the consumer or the employees’ way of doing business. Why not fire all the MBAs and number crunchers, stop advertising, and hire a real top-flight merchant to head the company; who knows how to buy product, negotiate with all the brands who now run part of the store for RS, and put together a realistic strategy?

I have long thought that they had a real advantage in the products they designed, developed, or distributed. But they were going after the wrong market; the techno-geeks. Why not go after a much larger market; those who want simple-to-use, one-button convenience electronics?

Mark Johnson
Guest
Mark Johnson
8 years 3 months ago

I would question the name change at this stage of the game. It is not that often a retailer changes their name and has any amount of success; the last one that I can think of is Structure to Express. Structure, like “The Shack,” was a weak moniker that although having good apparel was made significantly better when being tied to Express.

What is a Shack? Shack for and of what? Is Shaq going to be the spokesman for Shack?

Jeff Hall
BrainTrust

I applaud RadioShack for having the courage, in this dismal retail climate, to be exploring ways of becoming more relevant to their customer base, and ideally positioning themselves to attract new customers.

The company is making real improvements in its customer service, merchandise and wireless offerings, and with such a significant geographic footprint in every market size, is able to quickly test new formats and offerings.

Few retailers are so willing to invest in staffing their stores with associates who genuinely wish to understand customer needs and help in solving them.

Christopher P. Ramey
BrainTrust

Radio Shack may have been burdened with a name that no longer fit. But it had equity and awareness. No small feat.

However, I will not be too critical as their research surely vetted the name. Recognize too that the company has two customers; the consumer and the franchisee. The latter is likely over attached to their old name and loathes the costs of changing it.

My concern is the “big idea.” Is it merely to sell more wires and connectors? How should a company position itself to take advantage of the sea-changes in their industry? The new name illustrates they’re not complacent. But it fails to communicate benefits, relevance, direction and/or how they’re going to leverage the coming opportunities in technology.

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