The New York Times points out this morning that Research in Motion is alarmed at its sudden reputation as an also-ran in the smart phone market. “Why is it that people don’t appreciate our profits? Why is it that people don’t appreciate our growth?" complains co-CEO Mike Lazardis.
The Times quite correctly points out Blackberry has an image problem. People think the Canadian phone maker has been badly beaten by Apple and to a lesser extent by Android, when in fact RIM sold more than 50 million phones last year - a company record.
RIM is missing a marketing opportunity: position the 'Berry as a device for grown-ups, thus playing to its strength of security. It should acknowledge it is going to lose market to people who want farting apps.
Want to take a picture in 2011 that looks like it was taken in 1960? There's an app for that phone. An iPhone. Want to send a secure email to the Joint Chiefs of Staff? There's a phone for that too. A Blackberry.
Just look around. At the next big corporate retreat, you'll notice your art director, your chief marketing officer and that guy bringing the sandwiches on his Fixie bike are all sporting iPhones.
The CEO? He has a Blackberry. This is the image RIM should play up. A marketing campaign like "Blackberry: phones for big boys and girls."
That campaign should extend to RIM's new Playbook - its supposed answer to the iPad. Someone at Research in Motion should create an ad reminding corporate buyers of the iPad security debacle just days after the Apple's first release of the device. And then play up RIM's inherent security advantage.