If “The Shack” isn’t the perfect name for a horror story, I don’t know what is. What sort of nefarious activities are happening in there you might wonder? I’ve heard it said, that on a quiet fall night, if you listen carefully... you can almost hear the screams of over 1,700 retail stores as they die off one by one.
When Radio Shack decided to ditch its outdated brand in 2009, and position themselves as the hot modern technology hub, “The Shack”, it nearly destroyed them. Rebranding can be expensive and time-consuming, and if not done strategically it can be detrimental to a company. For instance, RadioShack spent nearly all of its $200 million ad budget on this rebrand, and revenue still went down by 13% from the previous year. So what did they do wrong, and what can we learn from their mistakes when deciding to give our own companies a face-lift?
Take-away tips and tricks for a successful rebrand:
1. Name changes aren’t a solid solution to gaining customers. Typically if your brand is falling behind in keeping up with the times, such as how Radio Shack was, there needs to be a shift within the company itself. Radio Shack was known for it’s lousy customer services and inflated prices, so it would have been more effective to confront internal issues and refocus on that. Besides, name changes are confusing to customers.
2. Don’t rebrand for yourself, rebrand for your customers. I think that we can all agree that Radio Shack is the ideal “dad” store. It has specific gadgets and obscure parts that are difficult to find at big box stores like Best Buy, so they satisfy a very specific niche. If the store wouldn’t have been so concerned with their own image, and focused on satisfying their customers needs, the brand may have saved themselves a lot of heartache.
3. Don’t try to market to everyone. This may seem counterintuitive, but it is critical when developing a voice for your brand. It goes back to the old adage, when you appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one. When you think about selling your products or services you may be thinking, “well I want everyone to buy from me and love what I provide”. That’s understandable, but not only will it cost you loads more to go that route, but by narrowing your target market you can actually increase ROI significantly.
4. Figure out what you stand for. Simon Sinek said it best, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. The best way to brand, or rebrand yourself is to ask yourself why you are doing what you’re doing. Sure, the money is important, but I bet you didn’t get into this because of the paycheck. Maybe you want to help struggling entrepreneurs, or reduce a city’s carbon emission. Or maybe you are simply passionate about helping others feel good. Whatever it is, let that be a strong driver in how your brand is designed and reflected.
Radio Shack Becomes “The Shack