Naming Tip 74 – Name for the Long Haul

An early icon of technological retailing is changing its name.

Radio Shack changing its nameRadio Shack will become known now as “The Shack”.

The old name was just too restrictive. True be told, it was always too restrictive, even when they were mostly selling do-it-yourself electronic kits.

I don’t know what transpired to make Radio Shack management decide it was time to change after all these years. They were certainly tenacious for decades.

So here’s the tip: look at name candidates with at least one eye on the brand’s future. Can you imagine a scenario when the candidate you’re considering just might not be appropriate and more?

Now “The Shack” eliminates the restriction. But if I were The Shack, I’d have considered going all the way. Why hang on to part of an inappropriate name? Do I, in the 21st Century, want my company associated with a shack?

They had an opportunity to break away from the “rinky-dink” and forge a new, modern image.

But I can see their reluctance as well. They felt they had equity in Radio Shack, and that some of that good-will and personality could be saved with a transitive name instead of a clean break. But how long will management – and the public – want to be associated with a shack?

I’ll bet they’ll want to make another change within five years.

A little fortitude builds better brands than hedging can.

2 thoughts on “Naming Tip 74 – Name for the Long Haul

  1. I’m new to the branding idea but most of what I had been hearing/reading was telling me to narrow my focus and/or product.
    Your post seems to support what I’ve been thinking. That it’s ok to have varied ideas and there is a way to brand that.
    That’s good news for me and all my ideas.

  2. e: I hope I didn’t give you the impression that a company shouldn’t focus. It should have a mission and a vision that is reflected in the brand, and especially as a start up, a this translates into a fairly narrow focus.

    But over time circumstances change, new technologies develop, habits are discarded and new ones adopted. So if you’re starting out attempt to be a bit less product-specific and more want-fulfilling in your name, tagline and messaging. Don’t tie yourself too closely to a solution that you can anticipate will become obsolete, but do be relevant to your vision and mission. Of course, we’re talking here of a corporate brand. Product branding can and should be product-specific, and if the product becomes passe, your product’s brand equity has become passe as well.

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