Excuse my extended hiatus. My journey to Japan and the UK was all-consuming (and tremendously fun). More about that over at my Insanely Simple Facebook page if you wish. Otherwise, it’s back to business here…
It probably wasn’t the plan, but RIM may soon enter the record books for Most Self-Inflicted Wounds By A Market Leader.
After being spanked by iPhone and Android over a period of four years, RIM is fighting back with a marketing campaign. And wow, it’s a doozie.
It started back in April when RIM dispatched its anonymous flash mob to the Apple Store in Sydney, Australia, creating a fake protest with signs reading ”WAKE UP.” (See that here.)
I’ll pause for a moment to let you appreciate the irony of RIM telling Apple customers — or anyone on earth — to “wake up.”
Well, it turns out that this tactic was really just the teaser for a new marketing effort unleashed by RIM last month in the UK and Australia. Though Be Bold is the theme, RIM wasn’t bold enough to run these ads in the US.
The campaign launched with a “manifesto” at wakeupbebold.com (and on posters). It’s worth a visit, just to hear the ridiculous voice they insisted on layering over the ridiculous words. As an extra touch, they’ve added traffic noises and footsteps as well — for what purpose, I’m not sure.
I hate to waste valuable electrons on text like this, but if you’re a student of marketing you won’t want to miss this lesson in “what not to say when your brand is in trouble.”
It’s time to mean business.
Now before you go looking for your suit and briefcase, we’re not talking about that kind of business.
Business is no longer just a suit-wearing, cubicle-sitting, card-carrying kind of pursuit.
These days being ‘in business’ means you’re the kind of person who takes action and makes things happen.
You don’t just think different… you do different.
It’s a simple choice:
You’re either here to leave your mark and eat opportunity for breakfast OR you’re satisfied to just float through life like a cork in the stream.
Now, we know some people will choose to float on by and that’s fine.
Being in business is not for everyone, but unfortunately… there is no middle ground. You’re either in business or you’re not.
For those of us with our eyes wides open, we need to realize there’s only one device for people who mean business…
The brand that’s been in business from the very beginning.
Be Bold. BlackBerry.
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. RIM is literally telling you that if you’re in business, if you really have your eyes open, you’ll realize that there’s only one device for people who mean business: BlackBerry.
Never mind that at one time, tens of millions of BlackBerry customers really did believe their device was the best for business. They simply changed their minds when they saw what iPhones or Android phones were capable of.
RIM’s strategy is misguided to the point where it’s almost unimaginable that professional marketers could have conceived it. It’s built on the naive belief that targeting Apple will open people’s eyes — when the company has yet to provide any new technology worth looking at.
Once you get past the horrifying manifesto, there are some ads to look at (on the UK and Australia sites only). Surprisingly, the first one is pretty good. At least it’s good in the sense that it’s nicely produced and fun to watch. Its point is that “There are people who don’t. And people who do.” It’s a decent marketing angle, but given the world’s perception that BlackBerry has fallen eons behind iPhone and Android, it’s an idea devoid of substance — so it comes off as another example of RIM ignoring reality. Take a look:
RIM also offers up a terrible ad devoting to surfing, which simply claims faster browsing, and an ad devoted to NFC purchasing. The latter actually demonstrates a feature that feels new — but both ads feel like they come from a second-tier company. (Insert snide remark here.)
It doesn’t take a genius to understand that RIM is missing two elements critical to its survival as an independent brand: exciting new technology and brilliant marketing. Assuming that it is actually working on the technology, an honest manifesto would be a good way to start.
Attacking Apple, claiming to be the “only device for serious business” and running funny ads is an excellent way to hasten an end that’s looking increasingly inevitable.