In today’s marketing world it is all about involving the consumer with the brand. In addition, companies are trying to create engaging moments that imply that the brand is an inseparable part of the consumer’s life. In a similar move, Blackberry has launched an interactive marketing strategy that places the brand as a catalyst for action in the consumer’s life. Moreover, the move becomes important especially when the mobile handset brand is struggling to keep pace with competition in the growing Smartphone market in India.
The sheer size of the Smartphone market in India is growing at an incredible rate. According to statistics suggested by Cyber Media Research, a total of one crore Smartphone units were shipped in India during the period of January-November 2011 and the figures are only expected to double this year. However, this competitive milieu has been especially hard for RIM, whose struggle for survival became more severe post the global fiasco that affected Blackberry services in October last year. Hence, the company has been constantly attempting to regain space and resonate yet again, amongst existing and prospective users.
After steady launches of newer devices set at lower prices and campaigns like Blackberry Boys, RIM has launched its latest campaign called ‘It’s all about Action’. The campaign is aimed at cutting across demographics and encompassing a larger target audience under the overarching tag of ‘people in action’. While providing clarity to the concept, Krishnadeep Baruah, Director Marketing of RIM India says, “Blackberry users are inherently not passive people. They’re active users who want to be in the centre of things that really matter to them. Therefore, action has a deep association with Blackberry.” Thus, without locking the loop on its target audience, the focus is to touch base with the ‘values of consumers who use Smartphone devices’.
The red asterisk that appears on a Blackberry device to indicate a notification or intimation, is being set as the peg of the campaign. Josy Paul, Chairman and NCD, BBDO India says, “The splat is a great differentiator for Blackberry because it indicates inherent urgency in the instrument. And that urgency for action is the starting point for the campaign. We presented the concept of action now having a symbol. And, that’s the germ of the campaign idea.”
Following a healthy media mix, the print campaign is already in progress and is slated to run for a period of eight weeks with focus on establishing the Symbol of Action. The television campaign, which is going to run for five weeks kick started on 12thAugust with the launch of a forty five second TVC. Extensive activities are lined up for radio, Out of Home and digital mediums as well, all of which aim at traction for six to eight weeks.
To get the action started, RIM is generously leveraging social media platforms. “In the digital plan, we’re creating a property called the India Action Week”, says Baruah. The first phase will see participation from people who will pledge an action. “It is after the action pledge is completed that the activity gets more interactive. One can visit our Facebook page and write to us about their action statement or do the same by uploading pictures or videos. Following likes and ratings, we will culminate the activity by celebrating some of the most popular actions which have been pledged,” details Baruah. And through the campaign, RIM reckons to be present in almost 38 cities with concerted efforts for promotion in emerging towns and cities.
RIM is leaving no stone unturned and is also looking at promoting the campaign through radio where callers will be encouraged to discuss their individual action moments.
Creating the right perception?
The contention however brews out of the fact that consumers still might be humming the tune of Blackberry Boys which was re launched in March this year after its initial success. While the brand is launching campaigns, they may not necessarily be in sync and thus, questions around the ability to retain its position become pertinent. But Baruah confirms that advancing through this kind of an action-oriented communication is not a one-time campaign, but a long-term strategy for RIM.
In response to whether it is relevant for this approach to hit the markets now, Baruah says that everything comes together with this campaign which is bringing in an insight, which might seem fresh, but is highlighting a truth, which has been inherent to brand Blackberry. According to Paul, the campaign appropriates the equity of urgency, purpose and engagement, which has been intrinsic to the brand since its start. And, by crafting a universal idea around action, the brand’s desirability is benefitting because of the empathy attached to the value of action.
Complementing the pro-activity of the concept hinged on action, Paul adds that the endeavor of the campaign is to make the idea real and to put it in sync with the philosophy of ‘creating acts, not ads’.
On a more positive note, RIM’s consistent efforts have translated into numbers, which suggest that the share of Blackberry in the India Smartphone market has grown from 3 per cent in 2008 to 15 per cent in 2011. However, as compared to other players like Nokia and Samsung, which held market shares of 38 per cent and 28 per cent of the total base of 10 million units in 2011, Blackberry lagged behind with merely 16 per cent. Now it is time to wait and watch if the new initiatives will put the brand’s market share into some action.