Back in November, BlackBerry announced the departure of Kristian Tear as Chief Operating Officer, and Frank Boulben as Chief Marketing Officer. Their exit left room for John Chen to make some new hires of his own and when it came to marketing, he opted to appoint Mark Wilson as Senior Vice President of Marketing. Wilson previously served as Senior Vice President, Corporate and Field Marketing at Sybase as well held position as Chief Marketing Officer at Avaya, so he came to BlackBerry prepared.
It's fair to say that when it comes to marketing, the feeling among the community is that BlackBerry could be doing better, but sitting down in a recent interview with AdAge, Wilson highlighted some of the changes he's put in place since his arrival at BlackBerry and his long-term marketing objectives for BlackBerry.
Advertising Age: What are your top marketing objectives for BlackBerry?
Mr. Wilson: The No. 1 objective is making BlackBerry synonymous with work, and that means professional mobility, enterprise mobility and really everything we do in terms of brand, defining our value proposition, defining our go-to-market tactics and ecosystem support. For people who are choosing a device or mobile platform to help them be productive and efficient -- while at the same time protecting their security and privacy -- we want them to choose Blackberry.
Advertising Age: You just introduced a new fact-checking site to correct misinformation about smartphones. What drove this?
Mr. Wilson: We found that certain competitors across all of our businesses, including software and services, were making claims that were just absolutely inaccurate. And we saw that sometimes the media were picking up on that. We really wanted to set the record straight. We call it 'Fighting FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) with facts.' We'll take documents that our competitors create and -- with a red marker -- will mark them up to show that what they're saying is clearly untrue. Overall, we've gotten a lot of positive feedback about it.
Advertising Age: Are you launching any new ad campaigns?
Wilson: We recently rolled out our "Endorsers" campaign. We have several endorsers, such as Arianna Huffington, who are just avid users -- she has four BlackBerry devices. So instead of having paid endorsers that you see from several brands, we're just using people who are die-hard fans. So we're doing more of that. We feel that it's very organic and very true to the brand. We also just launched the BlackBerry Z3 (touch screen) device in several emerging markets. We've launched this around the idea of connectedness and 'the power of connectedness.'
Advertising Age: How are you using social media to connect with business customers?
Mr. Wilson: We have invested in brand journalism to really drive a thought leadership program through social media. We've hired people with journalistic backgrounds and have seen a significant uptick in the number of people who are reading our blogs, citing our blogs in news articles and virally distributing them.
As highlighted in the interview, some of the most recent initiatives that people have noticed coming out of BlackBerry, have been a part of the work done by Wilson. Is there still work to be done by way of marketing? Sure. It can always improve.
But right now, BlackBerry is seemingly more involved than ever with very specific targeting of their marketing. Even if you're not seeing it in the ways you'd expect. Make sure you check out the full interview on AdAge or discuss more in the CrackBerry Forums.