BlackBerry and Brand Architecture

For those of you involved in business level strategy, brand architecture is one of the most important ways you have to communicate your strategy to your customers and other key stakeholders.

As a consumer, a company’s brand architecture communicates which products meet my needs, and which one’s are for someone else.  It helps me sort through your offerings efficiently. If I don’t get your architecture, I’m likely also confused about your individual brands, and that ain’t good. 

I found this excellent presentation from Brand Amplitude on, that explains brand portfolio strategy beautifully. (Thanks to Judy Hopelain and Carol Philips of Brand Amplitude for the great presentation).

After reviewing this presentation, I started thinking about BlackBerry.  The BlackBerry brand is highly ingrained in our society.  Think about its’ nickname, the CrackBerry.  BlackBerry has become synonymous with smart communication.  However, with BlackBerry’s recent strategy to enter the consumer segment of the smart phone market, it looks like they have made some branding mistakes.  Their brand architecture is confusing. When I go to the BlackBerry website, I can’t figure out which sub-brands are meant for me, and which ones are targeted at business users, and how they are different from one another. 

In a fight to the death with Apple and Android, you can’t afford to have overlap and confusion in your brand portfolio.  This is one of many reasons that BlackBerry looks set to lose the business that it created.

Have you taken a look at your brand portfolio recently?  Maybe it’s time.


4 replies »

  1. A few months ago I was speaking with friends and we all agreed that Blackberry as a brand has peaked. Will it survive? Can it re-position itself in time to save itself? Will it become a ‘specialty’ niche player?

  2. They have a lot of work to do. Their differentiators are weak, and their technology is behind. And now their talking about liscensing BBM to Android products — not a good idea if they want to keep their differentiation. But I’m not a tech marketer, so maybe I just don’t get it.

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