Since the rise of the iPhone and Samsung’s cooler-than-thou pursuit of Apple’s marketshare, BlackBerry has been the butt of plenty of jokes. Once the industry leader, BlackBerry suddenly had users who weren’t excited about showing off their mobile to their pals.
Lately though, things are looking up for BlackBerry Nation. A celebrity endorsement, the change in the company’s name from Research in Motion to BlackBerry and the unveiling of the BlackBerry 10 version of the phone last month has many of those who own BlackBerrys looking to upgrade.
The latest YouGov BrandIndex report finds 43 percent of BlackBerry owners surveyed planning to purchase a new phone in the next six months, up from 18 percent last year, and plan to stick with the brand. “This is the most popular the company and its products have been in the US since September 2011,” Agence France Presse notes.
BlackBerry execs can crow about such loyalty metrics with excitement a little, but only briefly. “A year ago, it looked like their customers were going to flee, but now [loyalty] has more than doubled,” Ted Marzilli, SVP and managing director of BrandIndex, tells Marketing Daily. “But what this [data] doesn’t say is if BlackBerry is attracting people from other brands.” The big question, Marzilli points out, is if this number can sustain itself or if it’s just a brief uptick.
Apple is still kicking BlackBerry’s butt with 85 percent of its smartphone buyers looking to upgrade within the brand in the next six months, YouGov notes. Slightly more than half of Samsung smartphone owners plan the same move.
Another metric that YouGov measures is brand perception and marketing buzz, asking survey participants if they’ve heard anything about the brand in the previous two weeks. Through its own scoring system, YouGov has had BlackBerry at near zero since December, but it has now gone up to seven. Samsung is at 16 and Apple is only one point higher. The latter has actually been falling on the list since its high of 38 in October when the iPhone 5 hit store shelves.
So, BlackBerry is pulling itself back up and getting back into the fight, right? It’s preparing to play the part of Rocky and take on the seemingly unstoppable machine of Ivan Drago (ad played by the iPhone). Well, it’s got a lot of work to do.
Fast Company points out that one week after the new BlackBerry was announced, Home Depot made an announcement of its own: Its employees would no longer be using BlackBerrys and would get iPhones instead. “Not only that, but the BlackBerry Super Bowl commercial, designed to create a big splash for its new Z10 device, underwhelmed in the extreme,” the site noted.
As for changing the corporate name to BlackBerry from RIM, Fast Company notes that generally companies experiencing negative publicity change their names to escape that brand rather than embracing an embattled brand name and hoping for the best. Maybe co-founder and former co-CEO Jim Balsillie, who led the company to its peak and, some say, was a key part of its downfall, had the right idea when he sold out all of his shares after stepping down last year.