Radio Shack rebranding: Why? Why!?

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So Radio Shack – AKA RadioShack – is planning to call itself the Shack. Radio Shack has been Radio Shack for 88 years. Radio Shack should not change its name.

I understand that the store is in a unique position right now. Most of its major competitors are gone and it’s going up against Best Buy. It has long been the second place you go when looking for electronics and only hobbyists hold the stores near and dear to their hearts. Radio Shack was one of the few places you could get components in a retail environment, a fairly big deal for amateur electronics hobbyists, but now I doubt any of us have set foot in the store in years. The problems, then, run far deeper than a simple name change.

UPDATE – The official Shack release after the jump. *sad clown*

Harry at Technologizer puts it best:

4. RadioShack has problems beyond any issues with its name. Lots of them. Its stores are tiny by the standards of the past few decades of American retailing, and therefore can’t compete with the product selection at rivals. (It barely has room to sell HDTVs at all–the TV section at my nearest Costco is larger than my local RadioShack.) When I’ve been inside RadioShacks in recent years, I’m usually surprised by high the prices are. They have a reputation for iffy customer service. If the signage outside the stores changes but the experience inside doesn’t, it’s not going to be any more competitive than it is right now.

Instead of spending millions on a rebranding, the stores need to regroup. Service in Radio Shack is abysmal and the prices are high and selection is limited at best. The company doesn’t need to be called the Shack (incidentally, there’s a Christian novel called the Shack which may be the impetus for this change. Maybe to make it more affable to the heartland?) Instead, Radio Shack needs to become an alternative to big box stores like CostCo and Best Buy or a replacement for those wonky kiosks in malls where they sell garbage phones.

RadioShack needs to go big or go small but it doesn’t need to change its name.

Incidentally, does anyone remember what the Radio Shack PC clones were called? We almost bought one back in the 286 days. Was it a Tandy?

More videos here…

RadioShack Invites Consumers to Rediscover “THE SHACK” through
New Brand Creative Platform

Integrated Media Campaign to Contemporize the Brand and Reinforce RadioShack’s Authority in Innovative Products, Leading Brands and Knowledgeable Associates

FORT WORTH, Texas (Aug. 3, 2009) – RadioShack Corporation (NYSE: RSH) will unveil its new brand creative platform, “THE SHACK,” on August 6, supported by an integrated television, print and digital media schedule, as well as a high-profile, three-day launch event taking place in New York City and San Francisco. The new creative was developed by Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners of Sausalito, CA, which was named the Company’s creative agency of record in April.

“Trust is a critical attribute of any successful retailer, and the reality is that most people trust friends, not corporations. When a brand becomes a friend, it often gets a nickname – take FedEx or Coke, for example. Our customers, associates and even the investor community have long referred to RadioShack as ‘THE SHACK,’ so we decided to embrace that fact and share it with the world,” said Lee Applbaum, RadioShack’s Chief Marketing Officer. “This creative is not about changing our name. Rather, we’re contemporizing the way we want people to think about our brand. THE SHACK speaks to consumers in a fresh, new voice and distinctive creative look that reinforces RadioShack’s authority in innovative products, leading brands and knowledgeable, helpful associates.”

“We have tremendous equity in consumers’ minds around cables, parts and batteries, but it’s critically important that we help them to understand the role that we play in keeping people connected in this highly mobile world,” added Applbaum. “You will see a real focus on mobility and wireless products from leading brands in our new advertising.”

RadioShack announced last month the addition of T-Mobile to its lineup of wireless carriers in 4,000 stores as part of its strategy to increase its authority and share in mobility and connectivity.

“We’ve partnered with RadioShack to develop a creative platform that will cause people to take another look at THE SHACK. Everything about the advertising – the media, format, style, music and tone – will contribute to a new interpretation of the brand,” said Greg Stern, BSSP’s Chief Executive Officer. “Everyone knows RadioShack. Our job is to communicate what THE SHACK stands for today.”

RadioShack also announced a partnership with seven-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, both to sponsor his new American Pro-Tour cycling team and to work with the Lance Armstrong Foundation and LIVESTRONG campaign in the global fight against cancer.

“This is an exciting time at RadioShack,” added Applbaum. “The announcement about Lance and Team RadioShack generated a great deal of consumer excitement and a reappraisal of our brand, which is exactly what THE SHACK is intended to do. Having Lance on our team will no doubt accelerate our brand’s evolution.”

To bring the new creative strategy to life, RadioShack will host Netogether, a three-day event taking place in New York City’s Times Square and San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza on August 6, 7 and 8. The event will connect the cities with two, massive, 17-foot laptop computers with webcams that allow live video and audio exchanges. Netogether will feature live music, celebrity appearances and unique contests to demonstrate how technology can keep people connected – even 3,000 miles apart. Consumers are invited to visit the event and chat with friends or family via the laptops, or to join in the conversation online at http://www.radioshack.com/theshack, where they can offer real-time comments on the live video feeds.

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