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Imagine the stock price of your company has fallen 80% in the past two years. You have one final chance to make a comeback: it’s do-or-die, period. So you bet the future of your company on two products, to be released at about the same time.
How much attention would you pay to developing the names of those products?
If you answered “almost none”, you must be a senior executive at BlackBerry. The pressure to finally (finally!) develop a product that rivals the iPhone and Android must have been excruciating. Did you succeed? I have no clue – and the name, arguably the most effective advertising tool you have at your disposal, doesn’t give me one.
Actually that’s not true. The utilitarian Z-10 tells me this product utterly lacks what BlackBerry needs more than anything: imagination and creativity. Without these elements, consumers won’t buy in droves, and developers won’t bother making apps for the product, leading to even lower sales.
As for the BlackBerry Q-10, to be released in May or June, it has been pointed out that Q might reference its traditional QWERTY keyboard (QWERTY standing for the first five letters in the top row of a traditional keyboard). If true, Q is not exactly groundbreaking stuff, but the rough equivalent of affixing “lite” or “diet” to the name of a soft drink.
Contrast this creativity deficit with the boldness that went into changing RIM’s name to BlackBerry. Considering the BlackBerry name is better known by consumers than the corporate name, it makes sense to go “all in” at this crucial moment in the organization’s history. On the other hand, to the many who see BlackBerry smartphones as inferior, antiquated products, the change will simply be confirmation that mediocrity has become an official corporate value, and history will see the change as the beginning of the end.
PS: I own a BlackBerry!
In case you missed it: My BNN interview re. Lance Armstrong’s brand (starts at the 3:30 mark, after the ad).