BlackBerry: Can It Save Its Diluted Brand?

Not long ago, the only smart phone that people knew about was the BlackBerry. Now, it’s been recently reported that BlackBerry has fallen to #4, behind Windows, Android and Apple.  What happened? Decentralization and resulting dilution. BlackBerry was experiencing tremendous growth in the marketplace.  However, rather than delivering a consistent message that leveraged off its tremendous name recognition, BlackBerry decentralized its product line, offering a host of models that appear to have cannibalized BlackBerry’s market share. To this day,  it’s hard to know the differences between the Curve, Bold, Torch, Tour and Storm models. Apple and Samsung, on the other hand, went on a marketing frenzy, bombarding consumers with more centralized messages around their iPhone and Galaxy products and reportedly spending ten times that of BlackBerry.  Armed with a new CMO, BlackBerry appears to be on the mend, focusing on regaining brand recognition. As the weeks unfold, we will see more about the BlackBerry Q5 and BlackBerry Z10.  The company is returning to the brand that put it on the map.  The question is whether it can regain its lost ground. What can be learned? If you have a strong brand, leverage it. Focus on what works and resist the temptation to diversify to the point of cannibalizing your own market share.  We’ll see if BlackBerry can regain its position as #1.    

Scott R. Bialecki

Scott Bialecki, a former FTC attorney and IP litigator, is the co-Chair of Sheridan Ross P.C.'s Litigation Group.