Marketing strategy

How NSFW tweets connect to RadioShack’s new marketing strategy

A rude tweet from RadioShack recently demonstrated the change underway at the century-old brand.

“Old business plan: politely sell hdmi cords to customers,” RadioShack wrote on June 23. “New business plan: broken necks and cashed checks…” It ended with a vulgarity.

It was a great example of RadioShack’s new approach to its Twitter feed, which evolved from a source of e-deals and blast ads from the past to a collection of insecure work jokes and themed memes. pornography. .

The strategy is in part to grab the attention of consumers who may not know the retailer is still alive, according to Abel Czupor, who a spokeswoman for RadioShack’s parent company, Retail Ecommerce Ventures LLC, said has been leading the brand’s marketing team for about a month. .

“We wanted to deliver something that was effective, something that was basically all organic traffic, and just lower the average cost per purchase,” Czupor said. “We wanted to increase the margins a bit. And the social media strategy was one of the things we really wanted to start with.

This strategy was in full effect in a rude June 29 tweet that graphically referenced a sexual affair. It went viral, garnering some 80,000 likes and nearly 31,000 retweets and tweet quotes.

The company followed up with an apology ostensibly tweeted by an intern, including a misspelling that Mr. Czupor said was an intentional effort to further boost engagement.

The number of tweets mentioning RadioShack that day and the next accounted for 67% of the brand’s total mentions this year over last week, according to social media analytics service Sprout Social..

RadioShack’s Twitter account now has more than 384,000 followers, up from 208,095 on June 28, according to social media analytics site Social Blade.

“RadioShack’s new marketing strategy is to use the voice of a younger generation to invigorate the brand and make it relevant in today’s market,” said Alex Mehr, president of Retail Ecommerce Ventures, whose other retail brands include Pier 1 and Dressbarn. “The business strategy has solid data showing its success.”

Retail Ecommerce Ventures said direct traffic to the brand’s website increased 49% in the 30 days to July 11 and sales increased.

A comeback, with crypto

RadioShack was founded in 1921 and became a household name before being hobbled by competitors such as Best Buy Co.

and Amazon.com Inc.

It promised a new and improved store experience in a well-received 2014 Super Bowl ad, but filed for bankruptcy twice between 2015 and 2017.

Retail Ecommerce Ventures in 2020 purchased the rights to the brand in the United States, Canada, India, Australia, Europe, and China, along with related websites, for an undisclosed price. At the time, RadioShack operated as an online retailer, but still had a network of stores with independent owners. Mr. Czupor said the brand has licensing agreements with RadioShack sites.

RadioShack filed for bankruptcy twice between 2015 and 2017.


Photo:

Brendan Mcdermid / Reuters

The retailer has launched a cryptocurrency exchange platform in recent months. He plans to significantly increase the inventory on his site, including crypto-related merchandise. And it wants to relaunch its stores with new products such as video games and “other trendy items”, Mr. Czupor said, to appeal to a wider consumer base.

RadioShack is also looking at other blockchain initiatives, according to Czupor.

The company isn’t ruling out again stocking products that would appeal to engineers, once a staple. “We still stay true to our roots, and if that means bringing transistors back to stores, then so be it,” Mr. Czupor said.

Familiar name, unknown voice

But some are skeptical of the social media strategy.

“This is a completely new branding situation, as we have a former well-known brand now producing comments that are totally inconsistent with everything the brand stands for and that go well beyond the line of good taste… It’s shocking to people,” said Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

RadioShack isn’t the first brand to offer naughty commentary. Wendy’s fast food chain Co.

often casually “grids” its competitors and consumers on Twitter. But the level of vulgarity is not common for a well-known brand.

People also have a better understanding of what Wendy’s is, Mr. Calkins said. “RadioShack hasn’t had a clear position in the market for decades,” he said. “So it’s not like RadioShack is building from a solid foundation.”

RadioShack’s social media strategy also appears at odds with its plan to attract new consumers to cryptocurrency, Calkins suggested.

RadioShack believes its brand name can help cryptocurrency become more mainstream.

“This is where crypto missed the mark,” RadioShack says on a website about its crypto platform. “Too many people are focused on speculation and not enough on making the ‘old school’ customer feel comfortable…And well-known, well-established brands like RadioShack are key,” it reads. .

It might not be overtly sexual tweets, Calkins said.

“If the strategy is to get older investors comfortable with crypto, it’s unclear how having the RadioShack brand spouting obscenities on the internet will really be a winning formula,” he said.

Czupor admits the new brand voice isn’t for everyone.

“Every company that has lovers also has haters, but that just means the marketing works. And I’d rather have lovers and haters than not have anyone who knows the brand,” he said.

Write to Megan Graham at [email protected]

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