Marketing Post #3: A New Beginning for Research In Mo– I mean, Blackberry.

With the new Blackberry Z10 released on February 5th in Canada, many realized that the new product was not the only new thing the market would have to get used to. Research in Motion has officially changed their name to Blackberry— the name that almost everyone associates with their company in the first place.

Within the marketing mix, it is obvious that Blackberry hopes to touch on its “promotion”aspect. With the wide variety of smartphones out there in the market, it has become evident that the promotion of the product has become essential to its success. Taking a look at the famous Apple product launches and the sleek ads displaying their new releases, the hype it brings up as well as sales it generates thereafter seems to be a recipe for success. Blackberry must learn to convince the wary public that despite the hiccups they have experienced in the past year, their new phones are just as good– or even better– than the leading alternatives out there. Of course, facing both Apple and Samsung– the two major leaders currently in the smartphone market– might almost be impossible, but the rebranding of the company may be one of the best first steps.

So what exactly is Blackberry trying to rebrand themselves as? I believe it is mostly to unite their company and products under a single name. Although RIM has been recognized in Canada and North America, many around the world do not see the link between RIM and its products, mistakenly referring to the company as simply Blackberry. By changing their name, it allows them to capitalize on something that they have already established: devices that provides security and an excellent user experience.

My classmate Winnie Li also points out that the name change may also be to associate themselves as a good phone for the public consumer market, and not just businesses and government organizations. I think this will be an interesting switch in their target market, and I too am interested to see how the public will react to the new marketing strategies Blackberry will be throwing out.

Blackberry’s CMO explains their name change


Marketing Post #2: People Are Dying, It’s Time for Shopping!

Many companies know that in order to have successfully promote your products, you need to seize opportunities. So when Hurricane Sandy wrecked havoc across the US, American Apparel leapt at the opportunity and chose to use one of the sure-fire channels of communication to reach their customers: the internet.

What exactly was American Apparel trying to communicate across? No, it had nothing to do with using the disaster to boost their image by urging people to donate to a relief fund, as many other companies jumped to do. Instead, they offered those who were stuck at home and ‘bored’ to discount codes for their online website.

The ad was met with criticism, and outrage from the public, especially when the death toll was climbing higher every hour during the hurricane. However, not only did American Apparel not apologize for their campaign, they went on to explain that it is “expensive to run a Made in USA brand like American Apparel,” so they were trying to make up for lost revenue.

They may have nailed it by getting an ad campaign up as soon as possible, seizing the situational opportunities of the hurricane, but in hindsight, did they really believe no one was going to get offended? The identified their target audience as those who were forced to stay home for safety reasons, but overlooked the fact that the US as a whole was panicking.

Another company who tried to make use of situational opportunities includes GAP. They chose to make a short tweet offering their concern for victims, but quickly moved on to promoting themselves not unlike what American Apparel did. However, they quickly tweeted an clarification to atone for their actions, which is more than can be said for in American Apparel’s case.

All the same, something can definitely be learned here. Sure, it is important to make use of any opportunities that come your way, but from what direction should you approach it?

Marketing Post #1: Fuel The Day!…With False Advertising?

No matter how old you are, you must have had some sort of contact with Nutella: the chocolate hazelnut spread. Children and teens love it, and even adults indulge in it. Best of all, it is a chocolaty treat that is healthy, nutritious and an important part of a healthy breakfast! — At least according to Ferrero, the makers of Nutella. Sound too good to be true? Sadly, it is.

An outraged mother was shocked when she found out what she originally was led to believe was a healthy treat for her family turned out to have the “nutritional properties of a candy bar, with very high levels of refined sugar and saturated fat.” She then sued Ferrero (back in April, 2012), winning the claim.

Connie Evers, a consultant for Nutella was traced to be the source of the whole scandal: she began to depict the spread as a good breakfast companion for kids, misleading mothers to think it was as healthy as regular peanut butter, but was sure to be more attractive to their kids. This led to outrage, causing the company to have to quickly take action in attempts to ease discontent, and save their image.

My main concern for this issue is that children were pulled into this issue. There are commercials that not only show the satisfaction of other children their age consuming Nutella, but also made them believe this was healthy. This is unethical, and unacceptable, as children are too young to think beyond what is shown to them.

Appropriately, Nutella has settled the lawsuits with a $3 million (USD) payout, as well as promised they would stop labeling themselves as nutritious. However, it is obvious they still want to encourage their product as an essential breakfast companion (link to their Facebook page). Their new ads still suggests that it is a good spread, with no preservatives and colouring. So how exactly does this show that they are taking steps to mend their actions? Perhaps they believe they won’t need to. One can observe that a brand as strong as Nutella’s can easily move past the public’s scrutinizing gaze after a quick apology, and continue what they were doing.

Inspired by: 1, 2