Whether Fairfax Financial, Google, Cisco, Samsung, former founder Jim Balsillie or, my favourite, Apple end up with all or part of troubled Canadian telecoms company BlackBerry one thing is clear: the BlackBerry name must die. This won’t be a problem in the event that the company is broken up, but should Balsillie or Fairfax chief Prem Watsa succeed in their bids and take the company private the chances of succeeding will be small unless the new owner changes the name.
Here are three reasons why:
- The BlackBerry brand is irrevocably damaged. It’s become synonymous with delays, undelivered promises, disappointment and, ultimately, failure. If the company has any chance of successfully re-establishing a serious place in the handset market then it will need a new identity.
- Once BlackBerry hangs out the ‘under new ownership’ sign the company will likely take on a new direction and that fresh start predicates a new identity. BlackBerry is synonymous with the world of the early 2000s, not the sort that are currently being sold by the likes of Apple, Samsung, Google and, even, Microsoft.
- BlackBerry says Enterprise. If the new company has visions of providing handsets and services to a wider audience, whether directly, or as a service running on third-party handsets, it needs to shake off those Enterprise perceptions.
The truth is that whatever the company is called, in order for the startup formally called BlackBerry to succeed it needs to go back to the start and re-think its value proposition, target audience and validate its marketing assumptions. It needs to go back to basics and create an entirely new strategic communications plan.
If you were running the startup formally known as BlackBerry, what would you call it?