During CrackBerry podcast episode 114, Chris Umiastowski brought up the reality that it probably doesn't matter if BlackBerry unquestionably had the best devices and OS in the world, because it still wouldn't help them gain market share. The CrackBerry team engaged in this discussion a little but it deserves more attention and certainly makes for an interesting conversation.
Of course within context, Chris is referring to the competitive challenges BlackBerry faces in gaining positive momentum, acquiring new clients and customers, while also maintaining old ones with their new BB10 products and services. Case in point —BBM . Before the WhatsApp acquisition by Facebook, BBM had a market value of zero even though it is widely recognized and arguably the best messaging application in the world right now.
Although the BBM team continues to develop and add new features including video calling, along with its anticipated availability for Windows and Nokia X phones this summer, WhatsApp continues to add millions of subscribers on a regular basis despite their lack of security, outages, and limited features. BBM is growing nowhere near this rate. This reveals an alarming situation and raises a couple of questions about a critical issue — how does BlackBerry leverage its resources to gain more subscribers, clients and customers? What does BlackBerry need to do in order to attract more consumers to their products and services? I can almost hear your thoughts while reading this and they're probably yelling, "BlackBerry needs to mass market!" And although BlackBerry's marketing has been dismal (to say the least), is that really all they need to turn things around? There are other people who would scream, "They need more apps!" Although it's something that BlackBerry cannot conjure up with just the wave of a wand, is this what they require to achieve success?
The reality is that being the best isn't going to get BlackBerry where it needs to be
As simple as those solutions might appear the answer to both is, "No,that's not it". It's not apps and it's not marketing. You read me correctly, but allow me to open the shades a little and let in some light. The reality is that being the best isn't going to get BlackBerry where it needs to be. Because in business it's what effectively sells, not necessarily how much better the product actually is, even in comparison to the competition. Don't get me wrong — BlackBerry will continue to strive at being the best in every one of their divisions, but this isn't the end of the mission for them but merely just the beginning.
Doesn't marketing sell a product and/or a service? If you throw enough money at it, it's likely people will buy into it, sure. Doesn't the type of marketing campaign affect the number of sales? It increases the probability, yes.But consider this: how many times do you come across a really great ad but don't purchase what was advertised? Everyday. Why? It can be for any number of reasons — You don't need or want it, it's too expensive, it's not relative to you or your life, or you simply just don't care about it.
The biggest problem BlackBerry faces right now is that no one cares. There's just no compelling reason for people to buy into what BlackBerry is selling. Security? Eh. Productivity? Meh. Efficiency? Yawn. For BlackBerry enthusiasts, ignoring these things are blaspheme, but for everyone else it's just another Monday.
You want to know what sells? The immersive culture of what we desire, aspire to be, and own.
You see, the beginning starts with a narrative. A story that captivates and romances people far and wide. What I'm speaking of are the spellbinding elements of a product and/or company that drive sales. I'm talking about the way a business builds a cult following due to the effectiveness of the story it creates that encompasses who they are, what they do and why they do it. You see the difference? It's more than marketing. It's a movement. And when it happens people will follow. When people follow, so do developers, apps, popularity and sales.
BlackBerry's biggest challenge will never be in creating the most advanced OS or the most impressive mobile device in the world. It will be in getting people to care about them and what they offer.
People love a great story and they want to be a part of it. They want to be involved and experience the magic of it all because it makes them feel special, empowered and inspired. You know who knew this all too well? Steve Jobs. The man knew how to mesmerize and capture an audience with his vision. It didn't necessarily matter what the product was. He could get it to sell. But this isn't about what he did but about the opportunity that currently lies in front of BlackBerry. Everyone loves a comeback story. We always root for the underdog in many of our favorite films where the protagonist faces overwhelming odds but then somehow is able to be victorious in the end. Sure it's fantasy but considering all the drama that surrounds BlackBerry presently certainly makes for an epic tale.
BlackBerry's biggest challenge will never be in creating the most advanced OS or the most impressive mobile device in the world. It will be in getting people to care about them and what they offer. The culture and identity of BlackBerry remains catalyst if they hope to be that victorious protagonist who defied overwhelming odds. BlackBerry should embrace where they are right now and appreciate it. It is not always in the best of times where the true nature of something reveals what we're made of but in the darkest and toughest moments.
What story will BlackBerry write for itself during these challenging times? Can they create something for the world to believe in again? Deep down inside, whether we admit it or not, we do want to believe. BlackBerry just needs to give us a reason. And so we wait.
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