Perspectives, News & Opinions From The Researchers At Edison

The Shack

Entry by rfarbman | Monday, September 14th, 2009 | Permalink

Just as the jokes about providing your zip code to the Radio Shack clerk as ransom to complete your purchase had become cliche, enter “The Shack. ” Yes, Radio Shack has rebranded itself as “The Shack,” and with the new name has come a fresh batch of ridicule for the struggling electronics chain. Judging from a sampling of commentary on the name change, the most common analysis suggests that the decision was mostly fueled by desperation. But several theories abound as far as what chain of events led the brass at “The Shack” corporate headquarters in Ft. Worth to this change.
Scott White envisions the name change as being the result of a hapless corporate management team huddled around a conference room:

I can already see the board meeting that took place. Some smooth talking, wanna be hip CMO says hey, we need to get rid of radio in our name because no one uses radios anymore. Then the President says, but what about all the brand equity we have in the name? The CMO wobbles and says how about we keep the name but call ourselves something hip, like The Shack. Presto, case solved. Brilliant.

Chris Brown articulates the puzzlement of many at the name change, and expresses doubts that the rebranding that he sees as being as lame (and also tone deaf to search engine optimization) could possibly have come from a qualified market research study:

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?

Meanwhile, Dan Hawke suggests a rebranding like this could only have been the result of market research:

Apparently market research suggests that people enjoy names that are just “The” and then a word, with nothing descriptive about the business other than the type of building they’re modeled after. that adding a “the” has other advantages: “Before, one might have said ‘I have absolutely no need to ever go to Radio Shack,’ but now, with the hipper re-branding, people can say ‘I have absolutely no need to ever go to THE SHACK.’ Also, there’s a chance they’ll get some accidental Google hits from people searching for Shaq.

So what do you think? Is market research to thank–or blame–for The Shack? Will The Shack have the last laugh? And most importantly–will Shaq be angry?

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