When consumers hear the term “BlackBerry” they may be more inclined to think of a tart fruit than a smartphone company. To say the least, Blackberry had a tumultuous past that has left the company in the red. But the business-friendly device will not go down without a fight. Blackberry has announced its latest attempt at revival in the form of the BlackBerry Passport, with a global campaign ran by B2B specialists, Gyro.
The Passport is the first handset being sold under BlackBerry’s newest CEO, John Chen. The global branding agency, Gyro, is also new for the company, having previously worked with BBDO New York and London. BlackBerry chose Gyro for its flexibility and international scalability. With past experience with HP and SAP, Gyro has a fighting chance at helping BlackBerry where other agencies failed.
BlackBerry has seen its fair share of turnover, especially in its c-level executives, with a new CEO, COO, and CMO. The new BlackBerry wants to focus on its enterprise solutions, with its number one objective of making the brand synonymous with work. And this objective is clear in the name of BlackBerry’s latest campaign for the Passport, aptly named “Work Wide.”
The “Work Wide” campaign aims to highlight the Passport’s wide screen, designed with secure business functions in mind, such as reading email and spreadsheets. And perhaps that is the best approach BlackBerry could leverage, because certainly there is not much competition in the business smartphone industry. Yes, iPhone, Android, and Windows will point out certain aspects of their products that support work activities, but you will not-likely see a work-centric marketing campaign from any of the previously mentioned companies.
Within the first week of the Passport’s release, 200,000 devices were sold and quarterly earnings exceeded estimates. The new brand focus is software and service-centric, which accounted for 54% of revenue last quarter. In comparison, Apple earned 88% of its revenue from its hardware.
BlackBerry learned the hard way as to how to best allocate media spend and how to focus their voice in the enterprise market. In 2013, the majority of BlackBerry’s media spend went to the lovely Miss Alicia Keys, who was named the brand’s global creative director. Despite what a great singer Ms. Keys is, perhaps she was not the best spokesperson for an enterprise-focused brand. Needless to say, Ms. Keys is no longer with BlackBerry. The brand is now focusing on (less expensive) testimonials from celebrities, such as Nico Roseberg (a Formula One racer) and Arianna Huffington (a media titan).
Time will tell if BlackBerry’s latest brand revival efforts will prove fruitful (pun intended). One element the brand has going for it: a business-centric brand image. With limited competition in the B2B handheld device market, the brand may have a fighting chance at revival. It’s just a matter of persuading consumers that they need a phone that will help with business. With appropriate positioning within enterprise scenarios, and B2B contracts, perhaps BlackBerry can come back from the nearly-dead.