Blackberry lost it, facing rapidly declining market share, outdated solutions that consumers no longer wanted and even the ousting of their co-CEOs.
We all remember Blackberry. It was not too long ago that every office was dominated by the devices, helping business men and women stay connected and productive on the go. Then the game was forever changed in 2007. Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone and a breakthrough internet communicator.
To recapture some of the interest Blackberry lost, then-CEO Thorsten Heins appointed Alicia Keys as Blackberry’s creative director. But that relationship ended about as quickly as it was formed. A glorified spokesperson could not save Blackberry.
During her talk at Recode’s Code Mobile conference this past Monday, Kim Kardashian referred to Blackberry as her “heart and soul” and would potentially back the company as an official spokesperson. The once prolific company now claims less than 1% market share. Sorry Kim, I do not think even you can save Blackberry from doom.
If Blackberry’s strategy to get back up on their horse is to rely on a celebrity spokesperson they are doomed.
The market has been forever changed. Apple revolutionized the mobile phone industry. Other big players like Google and Nokia (now Microsoft) quickly followed suit and proved to be viable competitors. People do not want a watered-down internet experience with a non-intuitive user interface that slows down productivity. The world moves faster. People move faster. The work never stops. Blackberry failed to see that early enough and fell off the map.
1. Stay current with consumer demand.
I’m sure Blackberry had a heart attack when Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone. Immediately all of their solutions, both available and in the pipeline, looked like dinosaurs. Once people saw a better alternative the old solutions no longer looked attractive anymore. It would have been a big risk to abandon the current pipeline and reevaluate their strategy. But as we know now that is a risk that would have probably paid off. Big. Businesses cannot be afraid to take risks. Those who take risks reap the bigger rewards. They are the ones who write history, not the ones who play it safe.
2. Listen to your customers.
Listen to what people want and give it to them. Or as Apple tends to do, give people what they want before they even know they want it. When customers ask for something, give it to them. Loyalty stems from trust. If customers can trust that you will listen to them and provide the solutions you are asking for you will generate life-long customers. Apple, under Steve Jobs’ leadership, was notorious for not listening to their customers. According to Jobs people do not know what they want. But we have even seen Apple shift under Tim Cook’s leadership. Customers might not know all but they do know some.
3. Stop with the gimmicks. Be real.
If you have a crap product or service no celebrity can save you. No gimmick can save you. At the end of the day it comes down to quality. Do what you do better than anyone else who does the same thing. Be proud of what you put out. Stand behind your solutions as the best solutions out there. The product should speak for itself. People will serve as your authentic brand ambassadors.