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Does BlackBerry need to re-brand itself to survive?

By Alyssa Sellors     Jun 28, 2013 in Business
With the launch of two new phones in March and April of 2013, BlackBerry, formerly RIM (Research in Motion), changed its corporate name to match its product name of the well-known BlackBerry phone.
The company has also modified its tagline to reflect this corporate name change, with the phrase “One brand. One promise,” but unfortunately for BlackBerry, earnings have not been so promising, leaving many to ask if they can every turn around or if a new branding approach is needed.
The company has tried a lot of innovation ways to update itself and branch out from its original corporate world of BlackBerry users. One move was hiring Alicia Keys as the global creative director. Many companies align themselves with celebrities, so this is nothing new, but it does say something about the intended audience they wish to attract and the direction they are wanting to take. Phillip Davis, company naming expert and founder of Tungsten Marketing, has said, “If you do something off key or too convoluted, then there is a knee-jerk reaction against it.” He of course means considering your audience and maintaining that audience’s allegiance to your company. It appears BlackBerry may have done something a little too convoluted with this new line of BB10 smartphones, and now they are feeling the pain and losing consumers.
The two new phones launched by BlackBerry are the keyboard equipped Q10 and the Touch Screen Z10. They are both gesture based (think iPhone), include apps, and two high-definition cameras with one in front and one in back. There are some unique features too. “Flow” allows users to swipe from one app to the next, and “balance” allows users to have two separate environments on the phone, geared toward the corporate users who want to keep work and play separate. The phones also include 16 gigabytes of storage and a memory card slot. One of the main reasons these phones are not doing as well as expected has a lot to do with the apps. Though they have promised to launch 70,000 apps, not all of the popular ones like Instagram or Pinterest will be available. Modern smart phone users may also just not be familiar with the BlackBerry name if they have been iPhone or Andriod users for a while.
After reporting an $85 million loss for the end of the quarter on June 1, the market capitalization for BlackBerry dropped more than 25% in late June after reporting unimpressive quarterly results. Shares dropped down to 27.3% at $10.53 on the Nasdaq Friday, June 28th. These levels were the numbers seen back in November of last year, before the launch of their new line of BB10 smartphones.
To give credit, BlackBerry was innovative with their keyboards on the phones, and most smartphones still prefer that keyboard option, but now that other smart phones have that and more, BlackBerry s left coming up short. Unfortunately, their target audience has changed and so they must too, but it might be too little too late for BlackBerry.
More about BlackBerry Z10, blackberry 10, blackberry smartphones, phil davis, Blackberry
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