BlackBerry has been a worldwide pioneer in the industry since its inception on March 7th, 1984. After this company had been introduced into the market in 1999, it revolutionized the whole mobile industry by its introduction of smartphones and new software that completely changed people’s views on mobile phones. It came up with new features that never existed in mobile phones before. Among them are Internet access, Short Message Service (SMS), emailing and multimedia applications that allowed users to play games, listen to music, watch videos, and take photos. In fact, it is this company that pioneered push e-mail services. In spite of the organization’s essential wellspring of income being the sale of mobile phones, it is also a designer and leading software manufacturer. It also provides and markets wireless solutions for the global mobile communications market.
On February 4, 2013, the company officially changed its name from Research in Motion (RIM) to BlackBerry.Its stock ticker on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation (NASDAQ) Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) is BBRY and BB, respectively. BlackBerry products are sold in about 170 countries, but nearly one-quarter of the company’s 2012 sales were made in the US, down from 40% in the previous year.The United Kingdom and Canada account for the company’s largest markets (BlackBerry, 2014). Today, the organization’s primary aim is to continue to influence its millions of customers around the globe positively by vigorously pushing the boundaries of mobile experience.
Blackberry’s Competitive Intelligence
One of the most competitive and fastest growing industries in the world today is the advanced mobile phones (smartphone) manufacturing industry. Many consumers want to be the first ones to own the latest models of mobile phone devices and are in most cases willing to pay a full price for them. Individuals wish to stay in contact with their friends through content informing. Email, calls and online networking (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) are available anywhere and anytime. Getting on-line and surfing the Internet for local or world news, listening to music, watching a movie or even making purchases on a smartphone are becoming routine practices for many people around the globe. These activities have made it easier for clients to accomplish what they need outside of their homes and have given firms in the smartphone manufacturing industry growth opportunities as well. It is clear that smartphone technology and design are rapidly evolving, since new phones are being introduced continually. This results in a short life cycle for smartphones. What is considered “hot” today could become just an ordinary phone a week later. The major firms that are currently competing in the smartphone manufacturing industry are Samsung, Apple, LG, Lenovo, ZTE, Huawei, Sony, RIM (BlackBerry), HTC, and Nokia (Statista, 2014). In reality, none of these firms have a significant market share in the industry to dictate or control prices. Therefore, rivalry among these companies is inevitable.
In recent years, BlackBerry has not been the market leader it used to be. Various parameters have been altered since the introduction of new game changers like Apple and Samsung. For the past five years, BlackBerry’s management had not been paying much attention to what consumers wanted. They did not realize that their smartphones were losing popularity. For a company to be successful, products must meet the needs and wants of potential customers. To get a grasp of those needs and wants, organizations need to conduct frequent market research. Market research reduces the risk by providing the vital information to help the company understand consumer requirements and translate them into actions (Kerin, Hartley, Rudelius, & Steffes, 2013).
Product Design and Engineering
BlackBerry has a medium performance in the primary function of product design and engineering mainly due to the enormous success of its main competitors – Apple and Samsung -over the past five years. 15 years ago, as a smartphone pioneer, BlackBerry changed the culture by allowing on-the-go business professionals to access email wirelessly. Accessing email became very addictive at that time in which BlackBerry was nicknamed “the CrackBerry”. However, the arrival of the iPhone in 2007 changed the playing field completely. Apple’s iPhone became a personal entertainment device for many users. It allowed to play music and videos, take and store photographs, and view imaged on a very slick and high-resolution display. After that, other smartphone devices were introduced by Samsung and HTC, which had a very popular operating system called Google’s Android. Suddenly, BlackBerry smartphones looked outdated (Gillies, 2013).
Although some IT departments in the enterprise market previously required employees to use only BlackBerry wireless solutions due to its emphasis on security and reliability, they started permitting workers to choose other devices offered by BlackBerry’s rivals. They were promoting the merits of safety and reliability as well. BlackBerry vowed to develop a new system to catch up. Therefore, it introduced a re-designed, re-engineered, and re-invented smartphone that was powered by the BlackBerry’s 10 operating systems. The re-designated smartphone offered new services and features, such as BlackBerry Hub, BlackBerry Flow, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) voice calling and video chat, Time Shift, Story Maker, and BlackBerry Remember (BlackBerry, 2014). However, the new device was not as appealing as BlackBerry’s management thought, and it did not bring the expected revenue. According to a new online survey by a trustworthy surveyor YouGov, 47% of Americans find “no less than one of BlackBerry’s new components engaging,” albeit just around 13% say they think about purchasing a BlackBerry 10 gadget. It will be very challenging for BlackBerry to catch up with iOS and Android anytime soon, since its technology and popularity are way behind its competitors (Reed, 2013).
BlackBerry decided to shift its strategy to focus on enterprise customers. As John Chen, the company’s newly appointed CEO, proclaimed BlackBerry’s “center quality” as “the top supplier of trusted and secure cell phone administration answers for big business clients around the globe.”He also said that “in conjunction with these administration transforms, I will keep on adjusting my senior administration group and authoritative structure, and refine the Company’s procedure” (Braga, 2013). This new policy involves giving up building high-end smartphones for the North American market. Instead, a great emphasis will be put on building up the company’s end-to-end security and productivity software tools for business. On the device front, they will create a partnership with a device manufacturer Foxconn to design and manage all new BlackBerry devices from now on (Reardon, 2013).
The company is currently trying to come up with new products that will be able to compete alongside products of the main competitors Apple and Samsung. The Blackberry Passport is currently the latest of its products that have been released into the market alongside other smartphones like the iPhone 6. Designed just like an actual passport, it introduces a whole new feature into the market that many customers would want to experience. The Blackberry Passport is more improved as compared to the iPhone 6, e.g., its battery is bigger giving it an extended battery life. Its physical keypad that can respond to touch gestures is one of its kind offering the users more typing accuracy and an interesting way to scroll up and down the screen. Other products from the company like the BlackBerry Z editions and BlackBerry 10 cannot be compared to the Passport when it comes to the new features. The phone comes with a new BlackBerry 10 OS that will keep the user updated and productive. It also comes in three colors, which are silver, black, and red. Moreover, AT&T has its variation of the phone (BlackBerry, 2014).
The target market for the BlackBerry Passport are professional business users. This phone is geared towards increasing productivity in the workplace with its 4.5-inch square screen and a physical keyboard that also functions as a touch-sensitive pad. It offers typing accuracy while the physical keyboard creates more screen space so that reading would not be strenuous, and zooming in and out would not be necessary while scrolling the web pages or reviewing spreadsheets. Chen, the current CEO of BlackBerry, has stated that the company is set to concentrate on higher margin services for corporate consumers, and that is why the Passport is geared towards professionalism.
To present the BlackBerry Passport with utmost care and class, the packaging required a great effort from the company. On the opening of the top cover, the device is cushioned with the black frame of the paper pulp tray. On the underside of the Passport, there is a small booklet that resembles a real international passport. The booklet contains the guides for the appropriate use of the instrument and its product design story. Underneath the brochure, there lies another layer of packaging that invites the user to continue unraveling the contents of the package. The process is enabled by a series of metallic printed icons that are readily understandable internationally meaning no need for translation. At the bottom, the accessory box is compartmentalized to make it reliable, stable and firm.
Product Life Cycle
BlackBerry as a company has been on the verge of collapse due to poor strategy and increased competition in the market. The company is now trying new strategies and improved products so as to regain its previous share of the market and gain even more. The BlackBerry Passport is at its growth stage of the product cycle, and the company should focus on maximizing its market share. It can use such strategies as product extensions, competitive pricing, and aggressive distribution to ensure a broad coverage for the product.
Recommendations on How to Improve Marketing Activities
- The company should create better commercials and adverts so as to reach more customers and inform them about the products. This approach would help win more customers;
- They should try to make their internet services as efficient and reliable as possible compared to those of their competitors. This solutions would improve the quality of service and win more customers;
- They should incorporate more new and technologically advanced designs to make their smartphones impressive and attractive to the client;
- It is necessary to create a smartphone that is designed in a way that would give the consumer a chance to customize it to his/her specifications, like their competitors do.
- It is important to develop ways to make products available to every user in common locations that are easy to reach;
- Finally, the company could team up with other famous organizations to make is services more available.
With such stiff competition in the market, it is very crucial for a business like BlackBerry to implement new approaches in order to regain its original market share and get even more coverage. With the introduction of new competitive products like the BlackBerry Passport, it is the only way for the company to achieve profitability. It is essential for the enterprise to know and meet the needs and wants of the customers. It is only through this path that they will be able to outdo their competitors and regain their market share.