ReBranding of BlackBerry:
When Frank Boulben was appointed as CMO of BlackBerry, Thorstein Heins gave him two objectives. First, creating world class marketing organization and second, prepare launch of BlackBerry 10. If we talk about brand loyalty for mobile phones than, after Apple, BlackBerry is the only company which commands highest level of brand loyalty. The technology has always been strength for BlackBerry but after loosing that battle against Apple and army of Androids, its becomes necessary for BB to reinvent itself and reinstate lost confidence of its fans.
This rebranding exercise was done in two phase.
First, BB identifies its core consumers. People who are hyper connected, want to get things done quickly, they are desire high productivity and are multitaskers. Demography is these consumers are executives, working professionals and teenagers(???) and this comprises 1/3rd of total smartphone market. BB10 has been developed keeping this consumers in mind and serving their need to best.
Second, BB identifies ways through which they can serve their consumers better than their competitors and communicate these superior values. This included changing consumer mindset and reinstating lost faith in BlackBerry brand. Here technological mastery of RIM came very handy as it is only superior technology that can woo BB customers back to BB ecosystem.
BlackBerry also conveyed its future plans for device. CEO Thorstein Heins conveyed that “In the future, they would be for computing, commanding, controlling.The phone would transform into a device, a computer if you will, that could be used to do business, command your car, or control your health and BlackBerry intent to create a device that will not be just a mobile phone for communication but device on which you can do everything you do on your desktop”
So, after creating superior values, company focused on communication.
If company wants to communicate its values “One Brand, One Promise”(image), it has to start from inside and that is what Frank Boulben did. He streamlined marketing organization and made unifies single marketing wing BlackBerry. Which helped to focus on one thing that is communicate superior values in unified way (remember One Message, One look ?)
The communication started with strong advocacy program [Remember Law of Publicity?]. Company followed rule of “Showing than Telling” and for this, they gave handsets to many influencing people. They also started face to face demonstration to these influencing people. People started blog about it, tweet about it, wrote articles about it and this helped to create early buzz for BB10 in the market. They also tried to evoke emotional touch and sentiment building with the target audience.
Once the buzz was created, It was time to amplify it [Law of Advertising]. Here they took help of digital mediums. Mobile marketing, social marketing to expose and showcase different features and how they are beneficial. They drove consumer to company website where they can evaluate and experience the product. This amplification is being followed by very creative advertisements which shows how BlackBerry 10 delivers very unique experience and value proposition of the product.
Conclusion: So far, things are going in good direction. BB loyalist are screaming about new BB, windows buyers are reconsidering their choice and old BB user, who have shifted to android or iOs, are aspiring for the brand new BlackBerry 10. This is indeed a good sign for BlackBerry as brand and Research In Motion as company but we are forgetting very important ecosystem of apps. Currently BB boasts to have around 70,00apps but that is just 10% of what apple or google has in their stores. If BlackBerry can manage to pass this hurdle then it will be very interesting to see what Frank Boulben calls “greatest comeback in tech history”