Blackberry has kept customers guessing for some time about whether they can stage an adequate comeback. Of course, Blackberry is eyeing a rebound, and thus far, it is not because Kim Kardashian recently decided to go off topic and show how much love she has for the brand. At a mobile Tech conference in California, Kardashian told her audience that her device of choice is Blackberry, for which she has acquired a nice personal collection.
It is well-known that Apple has become the go-to technology company. Facing this type of formidable competition, Blackberry has struggled to provide their customers with the tech-savvy advances they clearly long for. It has been puzzling how the brand has held onto any market share.
What is even stranger, to many, is how Kardashian was the chosen speaker to address Tech industry attendees. It turns out, the selection for Kardashian to be the featured speaker was likely due to her company’s marketing prowess. According to CNN Money, Kardashian’s fashion app is taking the app world by storm to the tune of $700,000 a day.
One could speculate that Blackberry is betting to win based on the bit of priceless free publicity they received from Kardashian’s conference talk. Rather, the company has relied on sheer perseverance to keep its skin in the technology game and they aren’t backing down, now.
To their credit, Blackberry has managed to be remembered for their Bold device, in days gone by, circa 2010. Back then, customers appreciated the Bold’s solid dependability. In the bargain, the company’s brand stayed visible enough that hardly anyone remembers that the brand once had a less than catchy moniker, Research in Motion.
Since Kardashian took the uncompensated time to show Blackberry some love, clearly she would be the type of celebrity customer for the brand to keep their eye on as a way to rebound. Currently, Blackberry has been relying on CEO John Chen to bring their company back to life after failed profits caused many to think they should simply hang it up.
According to an article in the Motley Fool, Chen expressed cautious expectancy before being able to state that business is where it needs to be. Stopping short of depicting a business boom, it seems instead the company is playing it safe, studying the results of the recent limited release of its latest device, Passport.
Given that Blackberry completely sold out of their publicly available 200,000 Passport units, this is hardly enough to call the item popular, yet this is precisely how Chen termed it. It might not take much analysis from an economics standpoint to realize that to roll out a product with as little supply as possible would in effect create demand. Nevertheless, this so-called popularity could be considered artificially induced.
Blackberry has demonstrated they are not one to give up. In fact, according to CNBC, Chen is expecting revenue to double in the company’s fiscal year. The Passport device, though, has met with a few mixed reviews. First the facts. The Passport has been positioned to grab back some of Apple’s iPhone market share, with a sturdy, simply good product. The Passport sells at $599, if no contract is involved.
On the down side, reviewers have thrown around a laundry list things they do not like about the Passport. It has been declared too boxy, too clunky, too awkward. It has also come to light that there are some apps that simply will not work on the Passport. This may or may not be a total deal breaker for some and an unnecessary inconvenience readily solved with the Apple iPhone.
Since the Passport has not been made available to one and all, it is hard to tell whether Blackberry is poised to regain market share. To get an edge, Blackberry might want to look for a more authentic approach to marketing.
The fact that Kardashian insists she is in love with the Blackberry, reeks of a perfumed partnership opportunity. Yet, it is not clear if Blackberry senses that the love that Kardashian has shown can translate into a fast break rebound that the brand has its eyes on. Additionally, what is yet to be known is whether the company will find it is too little, too late to prevail.
By Karen J. Dabney
Photo by Honou – Flickr License