RadioShack is uncool

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

16 February 2012

RadioShack, a marriage of the uncool (Radio) and the unappealing (Shack)

In a recent blog about Pepsi, I mentioned that only brands with different values than the competition can steal market share. Brand works in collaboration with this value by providing a meaningful context so its meanings become more intensive then the claims of the competition. I have, for a very long time, been very critical of RadioShack, or “The Shack” (which it is only using sparingly anymore). I could never pinpoint RadioShack’s differentiator, nor could I find brand meaning to help me overlook the absence of it.
radioshack is uncool
The biggest problem for RadioShack is that it has identity issues. “Radio” is just a wee bit antiquated and I have yet to meet someone who conjured up a positive image when they thought of a “shack.” Now that we live in a different technological age, RadioShack just does not know what it wants to be when it grows up.

The in-store setup of RadioShack, in theory, reminds me of a boutique because of its relatively small size, which usually means focus and speciality. My wife is fond of shoe boutiques because she can get special and hard to find pairs of shoes. Some of those small boutiques even get early runs of an item so that the same design found at a Neiman Marcus might actually be made with a slight nuance.The point being, a boutique experience feels special.

RadioShack however does not feel special. In fact, almost all of RadioShack’s selection is lackluster. Sure, it has TVs, but it carries only about five of them. Need a videogame? Don’t go to RadioShack, it only has a handful to choose from. Its selection might increase when you look online. But if you are an online shopper looking for best price and biggest selection, wouldn’t you just use Amazon or someone else?

RadioShack has not put a stake in the ground, either from a brand perspective or product perspective. With so much left undefined by the company, it forces the consumer to create meaning and value (or in this case a lack of it) on their own.

RadioShack is not completely doomed. It just needs focus and a reason for consumers to choose it. It needs a better understanding of the consumer. If its recent “the shack” campaign is telling of anything, it is that a change needs to be drastic and needs to happen urgently.


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