CASE: Blackberry’s Rise in Brand Power the Dueling Marketing
Strategies of RIM versus Apple
Set: FMGT 1F
October 19th, 2009
For the last little while Blackberry has been a huge success in the phone market. It has continued
to grow and make a great name for itself. The company itself has grown from having 1250
employees in 2001, to 7000 employees in 2009. Besides growing as a company their products
have grown tremendously, and become worldwide. With other competing companies stepping up
their game, it is going to get harder for Blackberry to remain on top.
How will Blackberry compete with other portable entertainment companies, to be at the top of
the market? What new technologies can they use to remain on top? How and what can they
change in general so consumers will buy more of their product so they can outcompete their
competitors? What do they have to do to compete with the quickly growing Apple Company?
Some key findings in this case would be the rapid growth of Blackberry throughout the world.
Also how quickly the competitor Apple has started to reach the number one spot in the phone
market. Apple has also not only grown with phones but also in all other aspects of technology.
Blackberry has also grown in the market besides phones. They have been able to create a great
number of other portable entertainment that have been award winning.
-Strong brand – Inspires extreme loyalty and interest among consumers worldwide. BlackBerry
is now almost a synonym for wireless email. Forbes magazine has recently listed RIM as the
fastest growing company in the world
-Innovative – All in one; an organizer, a contact manager, a computer, an Internet device and a
-Extensive product lines – Wide range of Blackberry phones available at different price points.
-Business Market – Dominates the professional, executive, and industrial market.
-Traditional tiny QWERTY keyboard – This feature led to the explosive demand for the
Blackberry line of products because it could be equipped with voice and data transmission.
-Push email system – When an email is sent to an account on a BlackBerry, the message is
downloaded immediately and an LED on the phone notifies the user that he or she has a new
- High Price – Perceived as a high-end product that is not cost effective for enterprises wishing to
deploy email. You need to buy the costly data plan to make use of the phone.
-Consumer Market – No dominance in consumer market, not perceived as an entertainment
-User Interface – Not user friendly, takes awhile to get use to. Requires too many clicks, steps
- Increasing demand and expansion to a new target segment – As technology advances and smart
phones get cheaper RIM has a great opportunity to target people who previously could not afford
-Upgradeable –Software on the Blackberry can be updated, it allows new features to be brought
in such as some apps to make it more or an entertainment phone.
Partnerships – RIM can collaborate with many powerful global mobile phone companies to flood
the market with Blackberry’s, which reduces costs in marketing and increases revenue through
long-term agreement deals.
- Increasing competition – Smart phones are becoming easier to produce. Many companies are
producing smart phones that are similar to the Blackberry; the iPhone, Palm Pre, Android.
-Downward pricing pressure – Phone prices will fall as other smart phone companies undercut
the price of a Blackberry.
Blackberry has made some very reliable and useful products in the past and out performed the
competition with flying colors, but now that Apple has come out with the iphone and other
companies have come out with similar phones, Blackberry will have to drastically improve their
products. Blackberry needs to consider that other companies are coming out with phones that are
much more fun and have way more applications than their phones, which will direct customers
away from their products. The major competition that Blackberry has these days is Apple
because they have come out with the more fun and more desirable iphone. Their phone has many
applications and is a phone with way more variety than the Blackberry does. Blackberry does
have a key aspect to their phones which no other phone companies have even come close to, and
that is their BBM (Black Berry Messenger) application. This application allows Blackberry users
to send data back and forth amongst other Blackberry users which puts them way ahead of the
other competition. On the other hand iphone has come out with a BBM prototype which allows
iphone users to communicate with other iphone users for free. The most important thing for
Blackberry to remember is that their products are very reliable and the majority of people who
have had iphones have switched to Blackberry and loved it. One of the biggest problems with
Blackberry is that their prices are way too high and compared to their competitors they are no
match. For instance:
An iphone 3Gs with a three year plan is $174.00
The Blackberry Bold with a three year plan is selling for $249.00
The Bold is the Blackberry’s top competitor with the iphone and the price difference is so much.
These two phones are available all over the world and the prices are around the same prices out
of North America.
The Blackberry target market is mostly middle aged business men who specifically get the
blackberry for their business work, because of the facts that Blackberry’s main features and
applications are meant for business uses. For instance Blackberry comes with applications to use
Microsoft word and the other programs that Microsoft has, to do their business work. The types
of people who get Blackberry’s are mostly middle aged men between the ages of 25-40 these are
the preferred target market for Blackberry because of the uses of the phone. The people who live
in North America are the main users of the Blackberry and even most parts of Europe where the
popularity for Blackberry’s is high. People who usually get Blackberry’s, their lifestyles are
usually owners of business’s or people who work for corporate companies. Some companies
these days even go out and buy a bunch of Blackberry’s for their in work uses and to give to their
employees to use as a work phone because of their compatibility to business employees.
Blackberry can launch a new brand along with the Blackberry brand. This brand would have a
different name and be targeted to a different market segment. This market segment would be the
younger population, the oldest being 23 years old. Since the iphone is popular among young
children and young adults this would target them specifically. A new product would need to be
launched, for example a phone similar to the iphone which has a lot of applications and fun
things to do on it. It would steer the younger consumers away from the idea that Blackberry’s are
for business people only.
Young consumers would not relate the Blackberry brand to only be used for
business and email purposes.
This would tap into a different market segment which Blackberry has not really
Has the potential to be a more “fun” phone with easy to use features being the
new “cool” phone.
This new brand may end up not having the desired effect wanted. Younger
consumers may not like it and reject it.
It will cost more to develop a new brand.
The younger market may still not be able to afford it.
Another market segment could be the baby boomers due to the fact that so many baby boomers
are retiring every year. The proportion of 65 year olds in G8 countries ranges from 12.4% in the
US to 20.8% in Japan and since Blackberry is already known worldwide it would be beneficial
for it to expand into this different market. For this diversification strategy to succeed, Blackberry
would need to create a phone that is senior friendly. It would not be a typical blackberry with all
the functions. There would need to be large numbers on the key pad and an easy to read screen.
Blackberry would be going after a different segment and baby boomers are likely
to have money to spend.
Increased revenue with the additional market.
It will have an advantage over the competition since Blackberry’s market
segment is aging.
Baby boomers could not take well to the product if marketed incorrectly.
The need for wireless devices for this segment may not be as high as expected and
sales could be low.
It will cost Blackberry more to create a new phone.
Blackberry currently has a strong image of being a business tool and business friendly for
professionals. This market development strategy would target the everyday consumers. It would
have to be a phone which is easy to use like the iphone and appeals to the masses. Blackberry
and iphone require a data plan with the purchase of their phone. Since younger consumers can
not afford to purchase a phone with an added data plan, which are on average $30, it would be
wise to market a phone which does not require a data plan. Or they could work with the wireless
providers and have a student data plan for a discounted price.
Marketing to a wider segment would introduce consumers with more variety.
Sales would increase.
If marketed correctly, and since they already have the business market, they
would surely surpass the iphone in popularity.
If Blackberry does not come up with a product superior or at par with the iphone
then it will not be successful.
Consumers may relate the blackberry with business so much that they still do not
accept the blackberry as a consumer product.
The wireless providers may not agree on lowering the data plan prices or
Our solution is based on alternative 3, which is to introduce a market development strategy that
targets the everyday consumer. The solution consists of introducing a new phone that is just as
easy as using the iphone, and appeals to the masses. This phone will be offered with an optional
choice of purchasing the data plan. Wireless providers will be confronted to distribute data plans
through promotions and discounted prices to allow consumers the choice of using the phone to
its full potential. These newly priced data plans will open up a target market that will compete
with iphone and further increase sales. This solution will keep blackberry ahead of apple and
allow them to hold brand dominance in the mobile Smartphone market place.
If our solution cannot happen, our back up plan will consist of alternative 1. Blackberry will
launch a new brand along with the Blackberry brand, but this brand would have a different name
and be targeted to a different market segment. The new brand will be specifically marketed
towards the younger population, the oldest being 23 years of age. The product will provide a lot
of applications and entertainment features similar to the iphone. This product will target young
children and adults specifically, and try to steer them away from the idea that Blackberry’s are
for business people only.
With the aim of achieving our marketing goal, we made the implementation plan detailed below.
Our targeted consumers are everyday consumers. We would use a large Blackberry
consumer research in order to further improve the Smartphone as the market changes, and
every participant would have a chance to win a free Blackberry Smartphone. Also, research
about media consumption patterns of our targeted audience will help our advertising agency
choose appropriate media and timing to reach prospects before and during product
We would focus on designing easy-of-use Smartphones. These new serial Smartphone
would be launched in three months with following additional features.
Lower weight and thinness
Longer battery life
Large, most scratch resistant screen
We won’t lower our current price in order to keep our loyal customers, but with the new
product entering the market, we would have a promotion plan :
Collaborate with wireless providers such as Rogers to promote the new product through
a long term agreement. It would be a win-win partnership.
The data plan is optional; students would get a special data plan from every wireless
Focusing on back to school time, students would get a 100-dollar rebate when
purchasing a new blackberry Smartphone and if he or she introduces another consumer,
he or she would get another 50-dollar rebate.
Before the coming Christmas season, eye catching new product displays will be found
at all possible stores.
We are planning to use controlled measures to closely monitor quality and customer service
satisfaction. This will enable us to react swiftly in correcting any problems that may occur.
Every month our customer service representative would contact with our customers to get
feedback about our product.
In the solution we have the concept of market penetration. Which refers to the process of
Blackberry focusing more on the everyday customer rather than just business customers. This
way they are penetrating a market the currently serve but do not serve more than their
We used the diversification strategy to figure out our alternative. It is a growth strategy where a
firm introduces a new product or service to a market segment that it does not currently serve. (pg
We used the Demographics course concept which is the countable characteristics of human
populations and segments, especially those used to identify consumer markets such as age,
gender, income, and education. (Pg 89) We had to figure out the demographics of our target
market and the consumers we are aiming for.
We used SWOT analysis to figure out the opportunities of bringing in a new product into the
market, and weighing the threats to figure out if it’s worth it or not. We also figured out the
weaknesses of blackberrys’ current standing, and the strengths that blackberry has already
obtained through branding
The Segmentation-targeting-positioning process was used to figure out the steps of our
alternative. We produced a strategy and objective. Also our profile segments, evaluating segment
attractiveness, select target market and identifying our developer positioning strategy. (Pg 206
We used Exhibit 8.2 methods for segmenting markets. We figured out the geographic,
demographic, psychographic, and behavioural of our target market. (pg 206 Exhibit 8.2)
We used the brand awareness concept to figure out how consumers are familiar with the brand
and what it stands for. How blackberry is known for its smart phones and certain features. (pg
The brand extension concept refers to the use of same brand name for new products being
introduced to the same or new markets. We used this when thinking about introducing the new
product under blackberry. (pg 253)
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