“To retain customers you must embrace technology.” Seventy Nine PR, April 24th, 2012
On a recent trip to India, a sobering reality dawned – how rapidly a global brand can lose its market leader title.
The thought came after seeing a huge billboard from Nokia – nothing new in the country where it is one of the market leaders. But it made me think – how long before Nokia loses its grip on the Indian market – just like the UK.
When the UK mobile market was maturing, Nokia was the must mobile to have. They were absolutely flying. Something like three out of four phones sold were Nokia. It was the mobile of choice for young and old.Nokia had become the must-seen accessory to be seen with. The Snake game was also one of the most played ever. Everything it released turned to gold.
On June 29, 2007 the first iPhone was released. It revolutionised the market. Nokia stood still, banking on its market leader status. In the meantime Blackberry et al were already chipping away at corporate customers with its smartphones. Nokia’s chokehold was loosening. We waited for Nokia’s answer. Poor phones, lazy designs. In the end, Nokia died a death by slow strangulation.
Now there is a reason for this Nokia story. This is a message to Blackberry and parent company Research in Motion (RIM) to take notice.
Blackberry was and still is a viable contender to iPhone. It did something which was a testimony to how good it really was – appeal to the business consumer and the teen crowd thanks largely to the its excellent and popular Blackberry Messenger (BBM) or Ping as many youngsters call it.
But today Blackberry losing money and has recently hired a law firm to restructure the firm. To make things even worse, Blackberry recently tried to connect with its younger consumers by holding a celebrity-packed party.
It was aimed at connecting it with the hip, younger crowd. Those who like to stay in touch through BBM which is still a powerful communication source. Jessie J was booked. A central London nightclub was booked. It all pointed to a good PR exercise. Then disaster struck.
The column inches were supposed to be PR for all the good reasons. i.e Youngsters talking about the party and the brand in a positive way through its social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and BBM. Posting pictures of Jessie J, of their Blackberry.
Instead – a father of two died in a horrific attack at the party. Blackberry was quickly suffering its annus horriblis.
So, how did it come to this? How did the Blackberry go from the must have to the “accessory of yesterday”?
Firstly, Blackberry committed the same mistake as Nokia – it rested on its laurels. It failed to evolve the brand and explore new ways of engaging with its consumers -corporate and the younger generation. BBM was a fantastic tool to connect with the young crowd. But it didn’t evolve. It is more or less same format now as it has been since it came out. The BBM should have been an interactive audience to sell products to. Blackberryfailed to pick up on this.
Its app store is diabolical compared to the platform provided by Apple. Its models didn’t evolve with the times. It was the same old tired functions.
Last year’s server problems, when the system went down was a Public relations disaster. Blackberry’s worst mistake was its failure to communicate. Our blog post on this matter last year delves deeper into the mistakes it made. The result – disenchanted customers leaving to join iPhone. Blackberry literally handed its customers to its biggest rival.
Then came the Playbook – a huge disaster and one of the main reasons it’s losing large sums of cash fast. In its most recent quarter, RIM posted a £77 million loss.
Blackberry is rapidly hurtling towards becoming the new Nokia. What looked like such a bright future, has become a dark cloud. RIM can still slow down its decline. But it all rests on a few things.
1) The next Blackberry product – It has to to be huge. unique, different and above all build on the crossover value of its predeccesors – i.e connect with the business consumer and the younger crowd.
2) Engage in a massive consumer and public relations programme – many consumers have felt badly let down by the brand. Blackberry needs an ongoing charm offensive to woo back consumers and rebuild the trust it lost.
3) What it does with its current assets – cross selling and licensing its current assets. Blackberry owns a lot of good assets namely BBM. There is so much potential for this especially the data it has stored on consumers. Marketed well, and with the correct partner, it can make a huge profit.
We are a PR and marketing firm based in Leicester, Midlands, dedicated to creating demand and managing reputation through a range of communication platforms. We work with household names, SMEs in the UK and across the world. We are specialists in ethnic marketing and help businesses reach a new audience. View all posts by 79PR → This entry was posted in Articles and tagged BBM, Blackberry,Blackberry Messenger, Leicester PR, marketing Leicester, Nokia, PR agency, PR firm Leicester, Public Relations, Seventy Nine PR.