IDC analyst Ramon Llamas pointed out that the apps BlackBerry is
bringing out in the first half of this year, including Angry Birds
and Plants vs. Zombies, aren't all that new. He also expressed
concerns that BB10 isn't expected until the second half.
"That means the first half of the year is a golden gift, wrapped
and packaged to their competition, that says, "Go out and steal
market share and mind share from us,' " Mr. Llamas said.
Mr. Kagan recalled giving a speech several years ago in which he
said that RIM had to change, and quickly, to keep up with the
industry. At the time, the company "laughed at me," he said. "They
believed they were on top and that they would continue to be. But
business is a wave ... and RIM missed it."
RIM seems to have realized there is a problem, Mr. Kagan said,
"but the time to act is now. ... In fact, it was probably a few
Loyal BlackBerry users still fill blogs and comment sections
with soliloquies to the brand. And RIM is not about to give up. New
CEO Thorsten Heins has said that marketing is a priority and that
hiring a CMO is vital.
Mr. Baxter has taken the reins in the meantime, handling the "Be
Bold" campaign, launched in December. It highlights BlackBerry
users, including a celebrity food buyer and two young international
DJs, who claim: "I'm about action, not distraction," and "We need
tools, not toys."
Another "Be Bold" spot features cyclists using BlackBerry
Messenger to meet up for a ride on bikes with wheels that glow. The
effort was created by RIM's global agency, BBDO.
The campaign is aimed at differentiating BlackBerry, Mr. Baxter
told Ad Age .
"It is a product that enables people through real-time
communication to make things happen -- to do more that matters to
them," Mr. Baxter said. "When we profile who the BlackBerry person
is , they are typically more interested in a device and a platform
that helps them get things done, and helps them connect faster and
work together better."
As part of "Be Bold," the active community was encouraged to
tweet their Bold 2012 resolutions. Thirty thousand people
Asked if BlackBerry is preaching to the choir, Mr. Baxter said:
"This is actually getting the choir to preach. Even just through
testimonials and people declaring what they love about the platform
and what it means in their lives."
RIM spent $126 million in measured media in the first 11 months
of 2011; $74 million of that was on the PlayBook tablet, according
to Kantar Media data. It spent $161 million in 2010, including $66
million on the BlackBerry Torch.
The company is performing better internationally -- it's No. 1
in the U.K and South Africa -- and has 75 million global
subscribers, Mr. Baxter said. RIM does not break out U.S. numbers,
though he said there is room for growth. The campaign has led to a
five-point bump in consumers' purchase consideration.