Blackberry’s stock has rallied in recent days. Buoyed by John Chen’s announcement that the restructuring of the company is over, many people have started to talk about turnaround and of better days ahead. The reality is that the restructure was the easy bit. The hard part – selling devices and in increasing volumes than in recent years – may yet consign the company to the mobile telecommunications history books. It’s a part of the jigsaw puzzle that the company has been notably poor at in recent years.
The nadir being had to be the company’s Super Bowl advert that left many scratching their heads at what they had witnessed.
The Blackberry YouTube account shows more than 1.2 million views – some would claim this to be a success because it created ‘buzz’. But when the advert served no valuable purpose it did far more damage than good.
In order for Blackberry to complete the turnaround that Chen now says he
believes is 80:20 in favor of successfully being executed it needs to retain its existing customer base and start to capture those that have in recent years abandoned the company. That is going to require a PR and marketing campaign the likes of which the company hasn’t seen for at least a decade. I’d even suggest it would take a campaign to
rival the one credited with turning around a failing Apple Computer in 1998.
Blackberry needs to beat the master marketer, Steve Jobs, at his own game.
Before you start, I’m not suggesting that Blackberry go after iPhone customers.
I think to continue down that path would be the death knell for the company.
What I’m talking about is something that gives Blackberry diehards, and those
that could be tempted back, a reason to buy a new Blackberry over any of an
increasing number of attractive alternatives. The company needs to be clear about what it stands for – and why people should care.
In order to do this the company needs first to identify who its audience is and start to rebuild some of the burned bridges with a PR program. Its value proposition needs to be clear and its message compelling. It also needs to deliver it in a consistent way across
multiple platforms, both directly and via traditional, online and social media
channels. This is something that the company has struggled to do, despite it being one of the most important parts of a successful turnaround.
Unless the company can successfully rebuild relationships and deliver marketing that encourages consumers [B2B or B2C] to take action then the company is doomed, no matter what their financial position is. They’ll be consigned to the lower leagues of the mobile telecommunications marketplace – something they’ve been trying to avoid ever since Steve Jobs launched the first iPhone.
Do you think Blackberry will make it?
Read my continuing analysis of BlackBerry’s turbulent struggle