BlackBerry’s position today is similar to Apple of the 90s in that it has a small Beachhead of Fans, good products and a legacy. But what BlackBerry’s turnaround needs is the company to take a stand. http://www.mventur.com
(MVentur) Re-engaging BlackBerry’s young female defectors is key to staging a brand comeback
MVentur memo: Q1 2013Re-engaging BlackBerry’s young female defectors iskey to staging a brand comebackHow does Blackberry engineer turnaround?“We have a lot of social channels that we track on Facebook andTwitter…we know what people that actually left BlackBerry to anotherplatform think about that platform or what they think about theBlackBerry platform. There’s a lot of comments that say, “Hey, I wannacome back.” This is a target segment that our marketing approach willspecifically go after.”- Blackberry CEO Thorsten HeinsBlackBerry’s position today is similar to Apple of the 90s in that it has asmall Beachhead of Fans, good products and a legacy. But whatBlackBerry’s turnaround needs is the company to take a stand.Taking a stand means making a choice about where they belong andwho they belong to. Making a choice also means making clear,
conscious decisions about what not to do and not being afraid to losesome of their customers in order to rebuild. Winning back the targetsegments CEO Heins identifies - particularly the influential young,female aspirants means adopting a marketing strategy that takes thebrand beyond the limitations of ad agencies and mass market branding.Hiring celebrities like Alicia Keys is 20th century marketing, it no longerwashes with today’s youth. Alicia Keys may be cool but if Blackberry isto really realize a woman’s worth, the company needs to build its brandon these influential young, female Fans.Turnaround means letting go of old habits. It also may mean alienatingsome of their existing customers but BlackBerry’s survival relies on itbecoming something to somebody not everything to everybody.BlackBerry’s biggest enemy in the turnaround will be agencies andcreatives that promise the silver bullet solution by “reinventing” thebrand or casting it in a light of “cool”. This is no longer about being“liked” by the many but about being “loved” by the few. When Jobs re-engineered Apple he cut out numerous product lines and its reliance onadvertising, taking it back to school with a focus on youth, creativity andeducation.What BlackBerry needs to do is, like Apple, re-engage their Fan base byfocusing on the 10% that influence the 90%. Blackberry already usesNPS data, what they need to do now is turn NPS from a score into asystem and start using the numbers to build a visual heatmap of itsinfluencers.Re-engaging young Fans may mean building deeper relationships withexisting users over finding new ones. 40% of all used and gifted phonesowned by teens are Blackberry (often gifted by parents). This meansthere is a significant population of teens with older Blackberries and theyshouldn’t be overlooked by marketing that focuses entirely on “the nextbig thing”.BlackBerry needs to forego surveys, focus groups and advertising tofind out the why question. Why do Fans love Blackberry and how canBlackberry help them generate Earned Media?Why are youth key to BlackBerry’s turnaround story?The youth of today will influence the executives of tomorrow. Oncehandset choice shifts from corporate IT departments to individuals, the
decision is shaped by Earned Media. 65% of youth bought handsetsbased on peer recommendation.Female teens are traditionally a core Beachhead for the BlackBerrybrand. This group is twice as likely to own a handset compared toadults. Not only do they overweight in ownership but young aspirantfemales are also the most influential. Facebook chief operating officerSheryl Sandberg said in a recent press interview that femaleFacebookers have 8% more friends and are responsible for 62% of allthe sharing on Facebook.More Data: See mobileYouth report #7The popularity of Blackberry extends from the youth to the adult space.Recent industry data found that 56% of women own a smartphone, asopposed to 51% of men, and BlackBerry is clearly their preferredplatform (21% of women against 15% of men).Ethnic youth are also a key Beachhead for Blackberry. AfricanAmericans in the US and young Caribbeans and African descendents inthe UK have traditionally been the first to turn Blackberry into a relevantbrand to the wider youth market, preferring BlackBerry over iPhone 2 to4 times more.More Data: See mobileYouth report #8While youth mobile is a $400bn market annually, the value to BlackBerryis in how this market influences the future executive market. The keymobile applications of today have been driven by the youth market(SMS, Facebook and BBM). Now these applications are widely usedand monetized corporates but they would not have reached prominencewithout the original youth Change Agents.
About MVenturMVentur is the world’s first youth mobile consultancy.We have 2 roles:1) Advisor to our clientsWe oversee marketing plans, act on advisory panels and consult ourclients. Find out more about our consultancy work.2) Commercial think tank for the mobile industryWe promote progressive marketing ideas that help mobile companies gobeyond advertising. Read more about our youth mobile opinion pieces.www.MVentur.com