Posted By Matthew Hudson on June 17, 2013This week, I needed a "doo-dad" so I went to the official headquarters of doo-dads - RadioShack. (Or The Shack as they now like to be called.) Now, my first retail job in 1983 was in a RadioShack store. I spent 10 years with the corp and owe them a lot for my retail education.
What strikes me is the new commercial campaign going on for RS. The have started an all out blitz trying to get people to refer to them as The Shack versus RadioShack. Its actually a pretty clever idea. They are trying to make their name mainstream, viral and cool.
To dat, this is probably there 854th attempt at trying to make their brand cool. But here is the problem - Who the heck is RS? I mean it is the most confusing brand I have ever seen. The merchandise is sporadic and confusing - no flow and no connection. Its a s if they are trying to be the Restoration Hardware of consumer electronics (which actually is a cool idea - but I seriously doubt that this is what they are doing.)
The shelves look empty. The merchandise is dull. The employees are frumpy. And there are 4 different store designs. I know this because after visiting the 1st store I got curious and went to 7 others. Its an occupational hazard of someone with 26 years of retail experience.
Ah, but there is the word - experience. There is none at RS. They are making the same mistake that thousands of businesses do every day. They are spending tons of cash on marketing to get people in the door promising hip and cool and when people arrive; the experience disappoints (a lot!)
Sales will spike up with the new ads (as they always do.) But the experience people will have in the stores is so miserable, that the sales spike will drop right back down. Aren't you tired of stores promising such great excitement only to be let down. We might as well all be Cubs fans.
It's a cultural thing. (You knew I would get there.) The company is still operating in silos. The marketing does not match the store design - the merchandise does not match the marketing - the people do not match anything.
RadioShack will continue to wander the retail landscape trying desperately not to be the latest entry in the retail graveyard until they decide to put in leadership who understand the power of culture and what it can do for you. No marketing campaign will ever fix you. Its like going on extreme makeover and coming out beautiful, but still being a raging idiot.
But then that is why we blog...