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RIM’s SuperHero Strategy Doesn’t Build Confidence

January 31, 2012

RIM has been through a lot in the past year.  A major international outage.  Stock prices dropping (to $17.02/share at the moment). Major PR damage when 2 of their VP’s were de-planed (and barred from all airlines) after causing a drunken ruckus.  Co-CEO’s stepping down.

What to do? What to do?

#BeBold Team Bold, RIM FailApparently the answer is…  Super Heroes.

Don’t get me wrong, I love RIM’s products. I’m a huge supporter. In fact, I have a new Blackberry Bold 9900 and think it’s the greatest device ever.  It’s sleek, it’s functional, I love the keyboard.  I think it’s a fine piece of technology.  I also have great fondness for my Playbook. A fantastic, useful tablet – Love them both.

However, “The Bold Team” at the outset appears to be an attempt to sell to fourth graders.  Not exactly the target market for a company who lauds their product as THE device for business.

The Bold Team are “bravely stepping out of 2011 and into 2012 filled with unlimited possibilities” and are supposed to be “saving the day with brilliant strategy”.

I suppose if you’re 9, cartoon characters could be considered strategy.  To adults, it’s laughable.

Now, since “The Bold Team” appeared earlier today, RIM has announced on their official blog:

UPDATE: We’ve noticed The BeBold Team has received a lot of attention over the last couple of days, and wanted to clarify – this infographic is just intended to be a bit of fun. On New Year’s Eve, we asked BlackBerry Twitter followers and their friends to submit their resolutions on how they plan to Be Bold in 2012. More than 35,000 resolutions streamed across Twitter®, Facebook®, and giant billboards in Times Square. As we looked at the resolutions and the data, majority patterns and categories emerged. We decided to organize the data and share it in a fun way, and the result is the infographic. This is not a new ad campaign.

Here’s the thing.  #BeBold is not a bad idea, it was just horribly, horribly executed.  During a time where RIM’s stock is dropping and many of their customers have been frustrated to the point of switching devices, trying to amuse users with rejected Cartoon Network characters is NOT the answer.  Even if it was meant as a “bit of fun”.

Many customers have lost their confidence in the company and their products.  RIM vowed to win back trust after the global outages in October 2011.  They offered some free applications but many felt RIM’s effort was fairly weak.

In order to keep the customers they have left and regain market share, they need to build customer trust and confidence.

The #BeBold campaign COULD have been genuine.  Instead of trying to be cute or funny with weak ass caricatures, they could have presented us with real life heroes.  Real humans who embody “BOLD”.  A single mother fighting cancer.  A teenager who risked his own life to pull a stranger from a burning car.  A baseball coach who spends their own money to help fund a local team.  There are thousands of people out there who could provide real life examples of courage, bravery and “boldness”.

Real people. Genuine humans.

If RIM wants to build confidence and trust, they have to be real.  Be genuine.  Not cartoonish.

I hope RIM listens to all the #BeBold comments and rethinks this effort.  I’m a RIM fan, and I sincerely hope they can recover.

But I guess this is what happens when the Powerpuff girls work on your marketing.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 1, 2012 12:24 am

    This is excellent Beth! Represent and celebrate real human heroes! Excellent. Then listen to what the people are doing with devices in real life. How does the person dying of cancer communicate late at night when the dark closes in – through Facebook from a smartphone. How can RIM make these connections brighter? How can we connect more people for BOLD actions? Make a BOLD difference.

    And how about how we connect across the miles to people we have never met. How can RIM do this better?

    Listen to what works and what doesn’t work for products – watch and provide the solution.

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