RIM Shot

Lately I’ve been thinking about RIM.  Once a proudly home grown Canadian phenomenon, it is now sullied by unsavoury future profit growth forecasts.  In the Toronto Star business section last weekend I read that RIM’s plan was to “cut an unspecified number of jobs as it works to roll out a new generation of products to stay competitive.”

I can’t help thinking that RIM’s problem isn’t just the technology of its products; it’s the IMAGE of those products.  While the BlackBerry was once a symbol of success it is now more often viewed both by those who have one, and those who don’t, as an albatross.  Having a BlackBerry constantly stuck to the side of your head no longer means that you are a person of importance, it means that you are a person held hostage at the beck and call of others.

No one has a BlackBerry for fun.  A Blackberry means business.  And these days, for most people, business is not fun.  Gone are the days of Gordon Gekko as an image of success and luxury in the exciting world of high finance.  Now there was a guy who loved his job!  Today, success and luxury is having a job that pays you enough money to live comfortably on, AND leaves you time to do the things you love, like playing in the park with your kids or having a barbeque with friends.  And if you happen to love that job, all the better!

If you’re looking for a device for work and play, you are much more likely to choose the Apple iPhone.  All those apps and free games?  All those iTunes?  Now that’s fun!

Let’s see… a tart fruit full of molar-busting seeds versus a wide variety of crisp, juicy apples?  I’ll take the apple any day.

Even the new BlackBerry PlayBook is unfortunately branded.  Isn’t a playbook a strategy document for sports teams?  Don’t coaches and players have to study the playbook?  Smells like work to me.

I think that RIM is right to be conservative in their future growth forecasts, because I see increasing numbers of people of all ages looking for more out of life than business success.  One of the reasons I left my lucrative career was because it was squeezing time out of the parts of my life I treasured most.  And I’m not alone.  Networking has connected me to a whole other world of entrepreneurs looking to build a better, more balanced life for themselves.  A life that is less work… more play.

I can’t help but root for RIM because I am a fiercely patriotic Canadian.  So I sure hope that the ‘unspecified number of jobs’ they’re cutting aren’t their brand strategists!

Follow me on Twitter to see what other thoughts are popping into my head on a regular basis and let me know what you’d like to see in future momversusmarketer blogs: @whiterockdw 

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One thought on “RIM Shot

  1. Great post! As usual, you have a razor sharp understanding of the strategic branding differences!

    You demonstrate a principle that I use in my name development business (www.nameflash.com), which is that it is critically important to understand the consumer perceptions which surround a name. BlackBerry in and of itself is not a business word, and in fact BlackBerry is often held up as a shining example of a great technology name. But over time BlackBerry has come to stand for a smartphone for business. iPhone may have more of a personal feeling to the name, but pretty much anything from Apple says “I am cool because I have one of these.” Over time, both brands have grown but in different directions…today Apple is clearly winning the race versus RIM, but I’m not betting that the race is over yet!

    Full disclosure: I had a BlackBerry for work for a couple of years. Loved it. I now own an iPhone. Don’t exactly love it (yet), mainly because it is a crappy phone…everything else is wonderful though and I think that is going to move my needle to “love it” soon.

    Keep up the great work!

    Mark Prus

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