Recycled batteries can recharge your brand image.

23 Sep

Though their store fronts have not changed, Radio Shack dropped the word 'radio' from their name to garner a more hip image.

Radio Shack may have a new image but in Hawaii, they need a jolt.

I purchased rechargeable batteries at Radio Shack recently for my wireless home phone. (Yes, I still have a landline). I like Radio Shack. Their employees are knowledgeable, the stores are well merchandised and the store I visit is conveniently located near my home in Honolulu.

They have a good brand image. In fact, they rebranded their image several years ago and are now “The Shack.” Their new brand is hip and appeals to a younger audience.

So why then, when I purchased my rechargeable batteries at The Shack, did they change their policy of not taking the old rechargeable batteries back? Rechargeable batteries contain cadmium, cobalt and lead, which is very bad for Mother Earth…which is not too hip.

Ecology is important to Generation Y, the new customer base for which they rebranded their business.

After complaining to The Shack’s store manager about their lack of corporate responsibility, he apologetically explained the reason for not taking back old batteries any longer. It was, not to my surprise, all about money. It became too costly to ship old batteries to the mainland where they are safely disposed.

Do good by doing good.

I understand businesses need to make a profit and difficult decisions are made every day to preserve the bottom line. But companies spend millions of dollars to build and maintain their brand image. The Shack could easily build the cost of a battery recycling program into their advertising budget and/or make it a requirement for their franchises to follow company policies, assuming this is only a problem with their Hawaii stores.

The Shack could be promoting their recyclable battery program via store signage, on their website or on social media platforms. They could get execellent PR from this type of effort and would do good by doing good.

Would you do business with someone who cared for the environment?

The Shack could turn this added cost into a unique selling proposition (USP).  It is not only Generation Y that wants to do business with companies that have a conscious.

OK, I’m being too idealistic. The marketing director does not have a budget to do qualitative research so upper management can place a value on the good will that will come from this new policy. Worse yet, I can’t project how many more batteries will be sold by implementing this do good program.

Even if everyone liked The Shack more by going green, they lost their profit margins on batteries. The CFO is not happy.

Let the customers pay for it. They may even thank you.

At check-out ask customers if they would like a twenty cent disposable fee, for example, added to their bill so The Shack can dispose of their old batteries, safely.

A flyer could be included with battery purchases to explain the dangers of cadmium and lead leaking into Hawaii’s water tables and that a twenty cent charge added to your battery purchase covers the cost of disposing of your old batteries safely.

Even though The Shack would not be paying for the program they would be taking the initiative to communicate their values and what is important to them.  Customers would appreciate that and employees would feel better about working for a company that cares.

Improving your brand image is all about how the public perceives you. Do the right thing…and let everyone know about it. You’ll do good by doing good.


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19 Responses to “Recycled batteries can recharge your brand image.”

  1. Koji September 28, 2011 at 3:53 am #

    Awesome job!

  2. Ron Martin September 28, 2011 at 5:06 am #

    Aha; a meaningful Blog is blossoming here. This article woke me up to how little attention I must pay to some things. For example, I didn’t know about the name change at Radio Shack, but it makes a lot of sense since they sell so much more than radios these days. Another is my apparent lack of conscious since I have been tossing used batteries in my trash can. I’ll stop doing that right now.

  3. David Rosen September 28, 2011 at 6:32 am #

    Great headline. It’s refreshing to get reviews of actual marketing/advertising situations in town.

  4. Dave Amsel September 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    I would definitely pay an extra few cents to have my batteries disposed of, for the benefit of the envirement.


    P.S. I love your site and congratulations on being you!

    • Linda Wassel September 29, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

      Congratulations on a job well done. This will hopefully wake up some of the people who aren’t aware.

  5. jw September 28, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    So exciting dude… to see your brain at work!

    You will kick it in the Social World ….jw

  6. Roger Morey September 29, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    Nice work, Alan.

    Like you, I’ll keep on reading your blog, “until I get tired of doing this”.

    Aloha, Roger

  7. Susan Black September 29, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    Excellent story, great job and congratulations on this site!

  8. Scott Mackenzie October 1, 2011 at 4:30 am #

    First thing Radio Shack needs to do is brand themselves correctly.
    the ads from the mainland call them “the Shack” but the stores in Hawaii still
    have the Radio Shack name on them, at least the one on King street does, Saw it last week. and the Shack ads are a bit strange sounding since there is a Shack Bar here in Hawaii. A bit more locally oriented marketing could be helpful.

  9. ESTHER October 4, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    Loved the way you expressed yourself and gave valuable information to help in more ways than one. Also, I feel your suggestion for The Shack should be appreciated by sending you a check for a genius tip on improving their business in Hawaii. Your ability to create ways to help many starting in business or those already in businesses will be a benefit to many.


  10. Yas October 5, 2011 at 2:51 am #

    love it Alan! I have to get in touch with you …perhaps I can make some introduction for you to guest lecture at the East west Center! something to think about! – yasuo

    • truemarketingadventures October 5, 2011 at 3:20 am #

      Hi Yasuo, thanks for the kind words.
      I’d be happy to speak to anyone willing to listen.

  11. Tommy Henderson October 5, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    Radio Shack was one of 10 companies slated in a Yahoo news story to file for bankruptcy in 2010. I never liked the name Radio Shack, and like The Shake even less because I believe the name should be a natural form of advertising like The Electronic Emporium, or New Breed Electronics, or A Cut Above Electronics. Now look what a simple policy change can do it actually got Alan off the coach to take action. Bravo retirement is giving you a new sense of consumer awareness and a proactive spirit. Hana Ho

  12. Jim Loomis October 5, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    Outstanding! Looks good, reads well. Off to a great start. Just be prepared to have this thing take over a big hunk of your life! I just put up the 723rd post on my train travel blog and don’t even want to think about how many hours have gone into the damn thing.

    • truemarketingadventures October 16, 2011 at 2:52 am #

      Hi Jim, A belated mahalo for your encouraging words. I’m having a good time with this blog but don’t think I will ever top 723 posts. I don’t I have that many memories let alone blogs.

  13. Jon Gelman October 5, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    Good first story. I agree with the key point. The interesting thing is that a lot of batteries now are OK to just simply throw away but most people don’t know. Most people are concerned about what to do with their batteries and rightfully so. Radio Shack could be both a place to recycle the “bad” batteries as well as a place for information to help people know what to do with their “good” batteries. Better yet, maybe they should become the “Green Shack” and only sell batteries that can be thrown away after use. They spent many years of their existence as the place to go to find batteries. No reason they shouldn’t leverage that legacy.

    I found a good concept recently when I purchased a printer toner cartridge at Office Depot. If you sign up for their loyalty program, you can bring in your old printer cartridge, they’ll recycle it, and they give you 10% off on your new cartridge. I think The Shack sells printer stuff as well. Maybe at the Shack, you could return your old printer cartridge and use the 10% rebate on a purchase of batteries.

    Your point is a good one. Using your customer’s sense of ecology and social consciousness in ways that ultimately lead to more sales is a win-win strategy.

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