Knowing Your Target Market: Radio Shack Rebrands to The Shack

by Chris Brown on Monday, August 31, 2009

When I first heard that Radio Shack was rebranding, I thought, “great!”

But after I read what Scott White (aka The Big Kahuna) wrote at Brand Identity Guru, RadioShack: A Case Study in Half-Assed Branding, I was disappointed.

I would love to hear about the research that Radio Shack conducted before they rebranded.

Turns out Radio Shack’s management is NOT getting rid of the word “SHACK” in their name. To me “shack” means a falling down, temporary structure that you wouldn’t want your dog to sleep under because it might collapse on him in the night.

Or, it reminds me of the song, Sugar Shack.

Or I think of the best- selling book called “The Shack” by William P. Young. My book club was reading it this summer. It’s #13 on Amazon and as of today, 602 days in the top 100 list. Three big strikes right there, in my mind.

All right. Four Big strikes. Why pick a popular word? A popular word makes it tough to get natural organic search engine optimization! (I know about someone else having your name since my name is Chris Brown!)

I just can’t believe that they dropped Radio to keep Shack. Actually, Radio isn’t that great either. Why not abbreviate it to something like RS. Wonder if they did any research at all?

Maybe RS isn’t a good name either, too reminiscent of how we used to call the TRS-80 (for those of you who don’t remember the start of personal computers, it was lovingly called the Trash 80.)

Hmmm, RS. Aren’t initials hard to get search engine optimization and Google juice for? (Note to self, check out your hypothesis before creating a “fact”)
When I type “RA” into my Google search, I only need 2 letters to have it prompt to Radio Shack and Google fills in the word for me. Humph!

Well, I wonder if they tried that before changing to The Shack? Maybe they don’t care about internet presence? Maybe they think bricks and mortar are where it’s at -or a falling down wooden structure.

Maybe I’m not the target market. Talked to my college student son who is probably their target market and he likes the shack  “Everyone’s going to one word names, Mom.  I heard Pizza Hut is going to change to the Hut.  You know, just like Apple.  Everyone already knows what you mean.”

Maybe the word “Shack” means something totally different to them. Doesn’t saying “The Shack” sound like “the Shaq”?

And “HUT”!?! Isn’t a Hut just a smaller version of a “SHACK”?

Check out this live report from Techspank during their big name change promotion in Times Square NYC along with San Francisco. This had me “LOLing” especially at the 4 minute mark. I’m willing to bet the commentator asked more questions of the folks in Time Square than management at “the Shack” did before creating the name change.
Feed readers click here for an under 7 minute fun video.

Can anyone shine some light on this for me?

Flickr Photo courtesy creative commons Pat Henson.

Subscribe now to Branding & Marketing through an RSS feed or Email feed so you don’t miss anything!

Previous post:

Next post: