Jason Dea's Pages

Friday, June 15, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

To upgrade or not to upgrade... the question for RIM


Reading the avalanche of bad news coming out of Waterloo these past few weeks, there seems to be one small positive that most pundits agree on.  When RIM releases their new Blackberry 10 devices later this year, it will be a make or break moment for what was once Canada’s most valuable company.

I actually think there is a subtle nuance in that sentiment that some are overlooking.  RIM needs to actually get most if not all of their current 75 million users to actually upgrade to the new devices and platform as soon as possible.

That’s the precariously same situation that every technology company finds themselves in every few years.  In the case of Microsoft, usually every 3 years, Apple every year, and RIM will face later this year.  How can you ensure the smoothest and fastest possible upgrade cycle?

Existing customers on one hand love familiarity.  In my own day to day, I’ve been a loyal RIM user for many years, so the quirks that come with their devices are something that I’ve grown accustomed to.  You could almost say that are quirks that I’ve come to expect and as such have accepted as part of my daily routine.  On the other hand, those same quirks are what make me consider competing devices as a replacement.  In fact on some days those quirks even have me contemplating paying for my OWN better device, in lieu of my “free” company provided blackberry.

As with most technologies, I have no doubt that Blackberry 10 will be an improvement on their current operating system. 

So how can they get those better, faster RIM devices in the hands of their most loyal users as soon as possible?

As with many things in life I suspect the secret lies in going back to the basics.  For RIM that means focusing on the five Ps of marketing, and tuning them for their core audience.  The 75 million people globally who they’ve already captured as customers.  Products, Price, Placement, Promotion and Packaging that will appeal to all those people that at some point already bought into the RIM value proposition.
How easy that will be remains to be seen however, not to mention how soon they need to begin executing on this…

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Corporate branding and what's wrong with Nickelback...

Better Than Nickelback

There was as a youth I dreamt of becoming a rock star.  In fact some of my friends from that period never gave up that dream.  I got a very exciting message earlier this week that one of those friends was nominated for a Juno this year for Metal album of the year. For any international readers out there the Juno’s are a Canadian version of the Grammies.

I sent over a message of congratulations mentioning that “it must be exciting to soon be sharing the stage with perennial Juno nominee – Nickelback”.

This seemingly innocuous comment got me thinking about NIckelback.  More specifically why many people find them so irritating AND how this might actually be a lesson for marketers.

Nickelback is Generic music, like much of pop music, but I suppose they take more abuse because they step outside the world of bubblegum pop into the world of rock or in some cases heavy metal.  Nickelback seems to step outside that pop world by having all their guitar effects pedals set to the “Power Rock” setting at full blast, all the time. 

On the surface it sounds great.  They have high production value and great hooks.  But therein lies the problem.  For music fans with more discerning taste they want to hear more.  Generic power rock doesn’t provoke deep thoughts, there isn’t really much substance.  The engineered sound of power rock also all sounds very bland.  There is a reason why every Nickelback song sounds like a song you’ve heard before.  It blends into the background and doesn’t make a statement about anything.  I think their latest single is actually about drinking beer as an example.

Corporate brands and corporate marketers might be well served to take a lesson from this.  We are facing a similar challenge - How to not be like Nickelback.

Consumers have more choice than ever before, so brands really need the old unique selling propositions.  More and more from a brand perspective people want to know what exactly you stand for.  What is the story your brand is trying to tell me?  And please, please, please say something meaningful… without your effects boxes set to “power rock”.  We’ve been there, done that, and it’s no longer good enough…