Why BlackBerry’s biggest challenge is to change perceptions

There’s a saying in my industry that perception is reality. Change perceptions and reality follows. But, changing press perceptions isn’t easy at the best of times, and when times are tough it’s magnitudes harder.

I’ve written before on this blog about the troubles Blackberry manufacturer RIM is facing, and the inspiration for this post came while reading an excellent article in The Globe and Mail, ‘RIMs hard choices‘ a couple of weeks ago, but it can equally apply to any company that finds itself being savaged by the media.

BlackBerry needs to think of your business as a sick patient… in this case the condition is potentially life threatening. The rapid administration of the right treatment at the right time can be the difference between life and death.

The first thing that any organization needs to do is stop the bleeding. Stopping a constant stream of negative articles can appear almost impossible when you’re in the middle of it. The key to stopping the bleeding is understanding what’s causing it.

Once you understand the causes, you can develop a treatment plan. The primary objective must be to change the conversation to something that enables you to control the agenda. One of the biggest causes of negative perceptions into positive ones is not having control of the media agenda. There are two main tools that can be used to regain control: a major announcement or story – something that journalists want to write about more than the problems an organization is experiencing – or a new frame of reference. One example of changing the frame of reference is when Steve Jobs was taken to task about Apple’s small share of the overall PC market. His response? ‘Apple’s market share is bigger than BMW’s or Mercedes’s or Porsche’s in the automotive market. What’s wrong with being BMW or Mercedes?’.

Once you have control of the news agenda you will be able to stabilize the patient. Once the patient is stable, anything is possible.

I’ll be posting about each of the specific steps I’ve talked about in more detail in the coming weeks, but if you’d like to know more about how you can change negative perceptions into positive ones, contact me for more details.


Watch between 1 minute and 1′ 50″ of this video and you’ll get a perfect example of what is happening to Blackberry – manifest through its stock price – over the last two years.

Other RIM posts

Windows 8 will be BlackBerry’s 10

10 years?  BlackBerry 10 won’t see RIM through the next 10 weeks!


3 Replies to “Why BlackBerry’s biggest challenge is to change perceptions”

  1. A really astute reflection on the current state of RIM. They have made a lot of mistakes recently; and not just in their long term strategy, but also in the marketing and in their story telling.

    Yet, I am sure they do have successes and they need to talk these up with an eye on how smaller successes are going to build towards a more successful platform.

    You’re right that today the only story about RIM is tha it’s tailspinning into irrelevance.

Leave a Reply to RIchard - Digital Possibilities Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *