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Seventh Brand Attribute: The brand's managers understand what the brand means to consumers.
Again on the initial introduction of the brand, RIM did not understand that the brand was actually a compilation of many factors, with the product being just one small part of that mix. The reliance on using Blackberries for staying in touch constantly also had a very reactive tone to the messaging. While trying to show how people could be responsive they made their brand appear to be addiction to reacting instead. The re-definition of the brand with a strong focus on the personas and identities of top customers however re-cast the brand to show how they understood the most pressing needs of the highest achieving customers it has. The company further tried to communicate in their re-cast branding the value of time and initiating projects, invoking change, and making things happen over merely reacting.
Eighth Brand Attribute: The brand is given proper support, and that support is sustained over the long run.
This is an attribute that is just now becoming evident with the RIM brand, as the previous branding strategies have lacked a synchronized approach to managing all aspects of the marketing and messaging mix. The lack of support for the purely technological and reactive messaging in the first generation of RIMs' branding opened the company up for many criticisms as the brand, in its mystique of speed of response, did not capture the more critical values of work/life balance or the need for taking control of ones' time. Messaging today however is concentrating on these social values and is also supported through a series of other marketing, PR, and Web-based marketing campaigns and programs.
Ninth Brand Attribute: The company monitors sources of brand equity.
In the initial branding efforts, this attribute was terribly managed as the brand became quickly associated with workaholics that could not stop typing even in the middle of their daughters' recitals (Columbus 2005). The lack of control over ones' life but the high importance of the Blackberry as a status symbol of time urgency quickly wore out however, and the Blackberry's brand equity dissipated as a result. With the re-definition of branding to specifically focus on how Blackberry customers are changing their lives for the better with the device, brand equity appears to be managed more effectively.
Summary and Recommendations
In summary, RIM has re-invented itself from a branding standpoint and is in the process of re-inventing its brand to be a device for keeping work and life in balance in addition to exerting more control over ones' life. The need for managing time more effectively in addition to achieving a workable work/life balance are two values the brand is aspiring to gain as a result of their re-branding efforts. With the improvements however there are significant areas of improvement for RIM and their branding efforts. These recommendations are below:
Stay consistent with the present branding approach and delve deeper into how the customers profiled in existing advertising campaigns are also using their Blackberry to achieve more freedom and also more work/life balance.
Create more sustained support for the brand by using Web 2.0-based marketing efforts including blogging, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and by working to make organic search picked up by search engines more effective.
Create and use a brand management system that tracks overall brand equity and also creates a monetized estimate of how much the brand is worth.
Define use policies for the term "Blackberry" and control the use of the branded term to ensure that brand equity is retained. The use of Blackberry as a trademark may need to be more vigorously enforced.
Complete periodic brand audits to ensure the brand is being perceived correctly and change direction if necessary to keep the brand on track.
Columbus, L (2005). Blackberry: The Paradox of CRM. Retrieved December 13, 2007, from CRMBuyer.com Web site: http://www.crmbuyer.com/story/44304.html
Keller, K (2000).The Brand Report Card. Harvard Business Review. January-February, 2000, 3-10.
Kelly, M (1998) - Paying for that old brand magic: Marketing branding professional services, Financial Times, August 12, 1998.
Market Research Executive Board (2005) - Overview of Brand Equity Measurement Approaches. Market Research Executive Board.…[continue]
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