RadioShack closings mean it’s toast

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

5 March 2014

The crazy thing is, RadioShack could have been saved

RadioShack is drowning. The news today reinforces what we here at Stealing Share have been saying for a couple of years now — the RadioShack closings means it’s heading toward bankruptcy.

A few years back “The Shack” thought it was reinventing itself by following the worn-out rebranding ideas that dominate my industry. Basically it goes like this… Give the client what it wants and not what it needs.

“To start with, the brand has a two-part name and both of them are bad. Radio is an age-old technology and a shack is a run down and neglected building.”


RadioShack closingsI wish RadioShack had called us. We would have told it that the family photo album was peopled with ugly kids. There was no risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater here because the baby needed to go too.

What is RadioShack? To start with, the brand has a two-part name and both of them are bad. Radio is an age-old technology and a shack is a run down and neglected building. Now, before you jump all over me, I do know what the brand borrowed its name from decades ago. (A radio shack on ships.)

So, the executives were attached to RadioShack. I would ask if they were attached to decreasing meaning and relevance too.

RadioShack closings could have been avoided

The question RadioShack never answered (or even asked) is what permission does it have to serve the market it should be serving? This is a vastly different question than the diminishing market it currently serves.

It is a question that, when repositioning a brand, gets to the heart of what a brand is. It involves a total repositioning of both the business and the brand. We just don’t need the business that RadioShack is in anymore. What RadioShack needs (beyond a name change, logo redesign and interior design) is a completely new business model that can prove the brand’s new claim (whatever that turns out to be).

My bet is that, with the store closings and major losses, RadioShack will have already spent every dime it had on the nonsense that some branding agency talked it into a year or so back. Its ad agency did RadioShack no favors by recommending a huge spend on Super Bowl Sunday either. Someone should have told RadioShack executives they could not afford the waste that Super Bowl advertising represents.

But all this assumes there is somebody listening. If the past is any indication of future performance, there is no one at the wheelhouse of the ship — no leadership and no vision.

Don’t worry, however. The radio shack on board that sinking ship is amply staffed.

See more posts in the following related categories: Radioshack


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