We’d been thinking for quite some time that BlackBerry needed, and deserved, a new marketing strategy. Under market pressure, RIM got sucked into positioning BlackBerry as something it’s not—another phone toy. Rather than trying to have it both ways (i.e. “we’re like all the other smartphones, only better”), RIM should aggressively embrace what makes BlackBerry different. They need to restore BlackBerry’s image as a serious, professional tool for people who mean business and get things done. Otherwise, RIM will continue competing with other toys, and inevitably lose market share (including their rapidly-fleeing base). And then we’ll all end up stuck with social toys instead of business tools.
We posted “It’s Not a Toy” just hours after RIM’s big management shake-up and right before their release of the latest BeBold ad series. We think their new ad campaign, “action, not distraction” and “tools, not toys,” is on the right track, but that they haven’t gone far enough. In our opinion, BlackBerry ads need to be stronger, edgier, more in-your-face—BOLDER, more EXCLUSIVE and DISCRIMINATING, to such an extent that if someone at a business meeting pulls out anything other than a BlackBerry, he or she should be ashamed. Tell consumers who are in it for “fun and games” to look elsewhere. People who mean business need real tools, not toys.