In the wake of Pizza Hut becoming “The Hut” another familiar name is dropping that little part that says anything about what they do. RadioShack is migrating into “The Shack.”
Why would both of these companies shorten their name to two words most people would use to describe a scary building in the woods behind their house – yes, that one; the building that at one time held tools, but over the decades has just turned into a decrepit place that features in the local children’s ghost stories.
A recent report from Wailin Wong of the Chicago Tribune cites some reasons for the change:
“Companies rename themselves for a variety of reasons. William Lozito, president of Minneapolis-based brand-naming company Strategic Name Development, calls RadioShack’s move a “name-ectomy” […] The shortening is a nod to the abbreviated, text-message-driven nature of youth culture, Lozito said.
“For RadioShack, what the heck do they have to lose?” he said. “They have to become more relevant. There’s very little downside to giving up ‘radio’ — who buys radios anymore?”
It’s as if these corporate execs are trying to get hip to what the young kids are doing by just changing their name. What’s next, will we be calling the White House “The House” so that these youngins can remember the name of where “The Prez” lives? Shortening your name works for some companies – Kentucky Fried Chicken shortened to KFC. Why did KFC work as a shorter name…because everyone was already calling it that. I have NEVER heard anyone refer to RadioShack as “The Shack.” I have heard a large amount of colorful names associated with the electronics store, but never that one.
RadioShack in Canada was bought out by Circuit City and renamed “The Source by Circuit City,” after Circuit City’s liquidation another company purchased the franchise and named it “The Source.” This makes sense. The Source says they have solutions to my problems, and I can get what I need by going there. The Shack sounds like I’m getting spare parts from my cousin’s junk computer collection – ooh, look! Punch cards and reel-to-reel recorders, fun!
There’s an entertaining post about the RadioShack’s rebrand on The Y Marketers Blog. I agree with them. I can’t count the number of times I would walk into a RadioShack, and ask if they have something only to be told they never carried it. Then 5 minutes later find what I was looking for and proceed to explain to the staff what the part was, what it does, and that, yes, they have a whole shelf dedicated to it. Facing this new economy isn’t about slapping a trendy band-aid on your brand and hoping that people will flock to your establishment because it’s hip. RadioShack is having trouble because it’s letting the consumer down on their needs – Give your stores a facelift, pay attention to the market, and look for legitimate long-term solutions.