When we think of how a company is perceived, we think of many different factors. For one, we think of how it is performing in the market, the quality of its products, but we’re also undeniably influenced by the media.
I know several people who will not consider a future BlackBerry device and who are also not even willing to give the company a chance at success with their new software – “too little too late” or “the same old thing” are common phrases that BlackBerry enthusiasts will hear when they try to bring up the potential revolution that is coming with BB10.
But how can this be? How can a company that had so much success in the past be completely written off even after showing some great new products and some great potential for future success in the industry?
The media has the power to change our perception of a company. By continuing to cover negative news, the media can influence the general public to believe that future news will also only be negative. This is what RIM needs to work on changing.
For a while now, RIM has been the subject of negative articles and its perception in the media has gone from a leader in the business world, to a company that is failing to deliver quality products in a timely manner. This point can definitely be argued, but I believe that the positive points that RIM has made need to be cited on a much more frequent basis.
FACT: RIM has lost ground in both the business sector and the consumer sector
Even though RIM has lost some of its market share in the enterprise world, they have introduced Mobile Fusion as a way to allow iOS and Android devices to operate using the BB Enterprise software and allow organizations to not only manage BB devices, but also the other platforms’ OS’. This can be viewed in two ways: 1) RIM has admitted defeat in the enterprise world by opening up to the other platforms or; 2) RIM is providing a secure option for employers wishing to allow employees the choice of which device to use at work, while still having confidence that data on the devices is secure.
From the more negative viewpoint, the point #1 will be highlighted over and over. While RIM knows they have lost ground in the business world, it does not mean they have thrown in the towel and are giving up on their proprietary OS as being the most secure in the industry. By introducing Mobile Fusion and allowing other platforms into the BB enterprise world, they are obtaining the greatest number of users possible and are, in essence, growing their enterprise position.
BBM as a Corporate Messaging Tool (via Mobile Fusion)
One way I believe this can be better displayed is by offering BlackBerry Messenger to any device on Mobile Fusion – including Android and iOS. While some may say this would be RIM giving up their #1 tool that has been keeping them afloat for so long, I think this could be a good way to promote BlackBerry to business users who may have previously strayed from their BlackBerrys in favour of a newer device. Here’s how I think this can happen:
By offering a slimmed-down version of BBM to non-BlackBerry users in Mobile Fusion (Android and iOS devices) that possibly only includes messaging and group messaging – and not all the features of BBM like photo and video sharing, broadcast messages, etc – business users could all have a common instant messaging platform to use and would hopefully eventually adopt it as the industry standard (leaving behind any 3rd party messaging apps). Once BB10 launches with its slew of new features and OS improvements, one can only assume that an updated BBM is also on the way – which would hopefully incorporate Video Chat. If the marketing for BB10 is done well, the corporate users may have enough incentive to switch back to BlackBerry, and their previous use of BBM on the other platforms would make for an easier transition. They would see that the new BBM includes many new features only accessible to BlackBerry handsets. At this point, they may have become so reliant on BBM as a corporate messaging tool, that they decide to switch back to BlackBerry to take advantage of the new features.
Now, I realize this may be far-fetched and there are a lot of assumptions in my argument, but I believe that securing the core user base (business users) needs to be at the heart of RIM’s short-term plans. They need to find ways to get BlackBerry back on top in the corporate world and offering BBM on other platforms may be the trick. I know BBM may be one thing that is keeping a lot of BlackBerry users on board and by offering it to other platforms may lead to a greater decrease in actual BlackBerry users, but this version of BBM would only be for enterprise users using Mobile Fusion (promotes Mobile Fusion) and it would be stripped down (to not include some features that regular consumers would still love to have).
Is this plan perfect? Of course not, but it does have some new ideas that RIM could use to grow in the enterprise world, as well as promote BlackBerry’s greatest asset – BBM – heading into the launch of BB10.
FACT: RIM is Innovating and has been innovating non-stop.
If you look at the progression of the BlackBerry OS over the past few years, you’ll see some pretty incremental changes – not only to features, but also to design and layout of the OS. While some may argue that RIM has simply been “keeping up” with the competition, I’d argue that they are well ahead of the competition when it comes to things like sharing and cross-platform compatibility.
NFC is quickly becoming a regular feature in today’s smartphones. RIM was not the first to implement NFC in their devices, but they’re definitely making it a standard in its future ones. Incorporating RIM’s security and acquisitions they’ve made, we could see RIM being a leader in the NFC field when it comes to payments, electronic entry to buildings, etc etc. Even through its new peripheral device – the BlackBerry Music Gateway announced at BB World 2012, RIM is showing that they are serious about the potential of NFC when it comes to sharing content, pairing devices and much much more.
The Android App Player is another example of RIM’s strength in innovation. In addition to Bridge, the Android runtime environment is one of the PlayBook’s best strengths to differentiate it from other tablets. An update coming (rumoured to be early summer) will allow multiple Android apps to run at the same time – harnessing the power of the QNX operating system to allow multiple instances of the runtime environment at the same time. If executed correctly, it means that Android apps would behave seamlessly with the BlackBerry apps that are running, creating an even greater user experience.
Canadians should all support RIM.
Yes, this statement will get some laughs. Why should we support a company just because it is from our native land? Why shouldn’t we try to knock it down even further when it delays new features? Well, the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) owns approximately two million shares of RIM, which effectively means that every single Canadian citizen has a stake in the company. In essence, if RIM fails, we (Canadians) all lose something. Whether it means our CPP would be reduced is a bit of a stretch, but more realistically, it would lead to other cost-cutting measures so that the government could recoup the loses felt by a possible RIM fail.
I bounced around a bit in this post, but I think the main message is clear – RIM needs to find a way to change how the company is perceived in the media. The media can make or break a company, it can make your new features seem revolutionary, or it can knock them down and say they’re too little too late. I think RIM’s message needs to be clear going forward with BB10 – – it’s a completely new experience. There’s iOS, there’s Android, there’s BlackBerry, and there’s BlackBerry10 – – a completely new experience with security, strong messaging, and cross platform compatibility at its core.