Wednesday, August 5, 2009
What's in a name?
I understand giving up some brand equity to reflect a stronger, more defensible brand. I really do. But on what basis does Radio Shack decide to drop the "Radio" from its name and become...are you ready?...The Shack?
Huh? Company chief marketing officer Lee Applbaum says the change was simply adopting the name most customers and employees called the electronics store anyway. I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone call it "The Shack." Have you? And I've been a customer for 40 years. "Rat Shack," maybe. Lots of times. But I wouldn't recommend using that name either.
I guess Rude Counter Person Who Does Not Know Jack was taken already. Or maybe didn't test well in focus groups.
Incidentally, I first heard about this in one of the radio industry trades, and their position was that The Shack no longer wants to be associated with radio. Does that mean the Rockettes will soon be hoofing in the City Music Hall? That kids will be riding in Flyer wagons? That the Queen song will forever be renamed, simply, "Ga Ga?" And our beloved hobby will become "amateur?" Or, worse, "ham?"
Christian Science Monitor reporter Matthew Shaer has some cogent cognition on the subject in his blog HERE. There is a funny blog post on this topic HERE.
Sad thing is, Radio Shack (I know it was officially one word, but I can't make myself do it) was once a good source of various parts, cables and tools electronic hobbyists required. Or had people manning the store who could explain to the unitiated how to hook up a set of speakers or program a scanner. Need a couple of BNC connectors and a short piece of coax at 8 PM? Run down to the mall. They sold quite a bit of amateur radio gear for a while, too. Heck, I bought my first computer, a TRS-80, from The Shack (grrrrrrrrr).
Truth is, they lost their image a long time ago, carrying everything from cell phones to CB radio antennas. Yes, they once had the image as a haven for nerds, but at least they had an image an were a haven for somebody with money to spend.
Oh, well. I guess it is true, what I read the other day. You know a company's dying when it reaches for that last straw, "re-branding."
Don Keith N4KC