BlackBerry BBX: the wrong name for a brand in a jam

[Cache – #44]

Central to RIM’s tanking stock price – down more than 50% in the past year – is the complaint among analysts and consumers alike that the company has been almost entirely ineffective at making its products competitive with those of Apple.  Quarter after quarter, RIM has been promising breakthrough functionality for successive generations of the BlackBerry, and for its inaugural tablet device, the BlackBerry Playbook.

If the name of BlackBerry’s new operating system – BBX – is any indication, we should not be holding our breath.  Announced Wednesday at RIM’s annual developer’s conference (DevCon), BBX is a meaningless, boring name that suggests a lack of any technology that can compete with that on the iPhone.  But at least one tech analyst believes that BBX is a major step forward for RIM.

blackberry BBX

If that’s truly the case, the BBX moniker is a major – now lost – opportunity for RIM to give its operating system a name that helps tell the story.  Indeed, the very name BlackBerry provides a rich foundation for naming sub-brands.  Consider that the Apple name made possible Macintosh (a great product with a great name) and Newton (a rather less successful product with a great name).  And that as Apple runs out of i-prefixed names, and as consumers grow tired of them, Apple will be able to restart an apple-inspired nomenclature (how about Delicious, or Adam, or Gala?).

In this vein, it seems that someone at RIM was thinking creatively in time for DevCon.  VP Alec Saunders introduced a new program “of services and resources designed to help developers.”  The name?  BlackBerry Jam.  With such a smart and carefully-chosen name, a tableau of opportunities to convey value are created – including Jam Sessions, an initiative for developer collaboration.  Check out the other clever riffs on Jam here.

Confirming the lack of thought that went into the BBX name is this late breaking news:  RIM has been threatened with legal action by Basis International, maker of BBx software.  It’s one more headache for a dying brand.

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Best and worst brand names of the week!

Previous lists:
Friday October 14

Friday October 7

Friday September 30

Friday September 23

Friday September 16

Friday September 9

Friday September 2

Friday August 26

Friday August 17

 

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