It would probably be an understatement to say the Research in Motion has struggled in recent years. Year after year, RIM has witnessed the likes of Apple and Samsung eat away its market share with touch-based devices, while it persisted with its QWERTY keyboard model. RIM’s persistence eventually led to plummeting stock price and pushed the company to the brinks of bankruptcy.
After a 2 year product hiatus, RIM finally launched its brand new blackberry z10 in an attempt to recapture some of its lost market share. To pair with the launch, RIM orchestrated two important actions: hire pop star Alicia Keys as its creative director and rebranded itself as solely Blackberry.
These two actions marked an important transformation in Blackberry’s brand image. Prior to the change, Blackberry was known to be very corporate, business, and not generally designed for consumers. The phone was designed to be more of a tool than a toy. This brand image manifested it itself in many areas such as black berry’s simple black packaging and commercials featuring professionals.
With the name change and hiring of Alicia Keys, Blackberry is attempting to rebrand itself more towards the public consumer market. Through Alicia Keys, Blackberry hopes to communicate an image of strength, professionalism, but at the same time mainstream. Furthermore, uniting the brand under the Blackberry name reduces confusion between blackberry and RIM. Furthermore, Blackberry is a much more appealing to consumers because of its fruit, fun nature, while RIM sounds too technical and professional.
It will be interesting to see how consumers feel regarding the rebranding and whether the strategy will ignite Blackberry/RIM’s comeback in the smartphone market.