Global Marketing

Blackberry: Alicia Keys to the rescue?

Screen shot 2013-02-24 at 10.23.49 AMThe moment we’ve all NOT been waiting for is soon approaching: The U.S. release of the new Blackberry smartphone in March.

Blackberry (formerly known as Research in Motion) knows most consumers couldn’t care less about the Z10, having left Blackberry years ago for iPhones and Android devices. Perhaps this is why Blackberry has opted to add a celebrity name to its marketing arsenal. The company announced in January that musical artist Alicia Keys would serve as the company’s “global creative director,” which they hoped will lead to “new business initiatives that will drive engagement with BlackBerry.”

The company faces an uphill battle. Blackberry was once the market leader, and now Apple’s iPhone dominates the smartphone market. Blackberry lost its competitive advantage when it failed to change its devices in reaction to the more avant-garde, and user-friendly iPhone—which won the hearts and minds of consumers.

The company also lacked a coherent and seamless marketing strategy. “My biggest issue was marketing. BlackBerry meant something different to everybody and there was no guidance or direction,” said CEO Thorsten Heins said in this article on the internal turmoil at Blackberry.

The company hired a new marketing director, who conducted market research to determine that BlackBerry users were multi-taskers, task-oriented, and are very active on social networks. Based on this feedback, the company created the Blackberry Z10.

Can Blackberry be popular yet again? Judging from underwhelming sales overseas, not even hiring a celebrity brand ambassador can save this sinking ship.

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