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Posts Tagged ‘Research in Motion’

RIM Spends a Ton, Rebrands Itself as…BlackBerry!

BlackBerry rebranding Alicia KeysIn case you aren’t a tech blogger, this morning’s hot story concerned the future of Research in Motion, one of America’s “most hated” brands.

Yes, people still get excited about smartphone companies that have fallen way behind the curve. Need proof? Journalists from every major publication showed up to cover today’s new product roll-out event (while sniggering under their breath). RIM, famous only for producing the BlackBerry, used the event as an opportunity to rebrand itself as…wait for it…BlackBerry.

The public already saw the new BlackBerry 10 before today’s big roll-out thanks to a badly staged PR stunt at a November Lakers game, but right now we’re more interested in the company’s decision to name “longtime Apple userAlicia Keys as its global creative director. What will she do to revitalize the brand? What will she tell her 1.6 million Instagram fans, who still can’t use BlackBerries to follow her account? And won’t she get annoyed when everyone starts comparing her to Beyoncé? We certainly would. She didn’t even play a song this morning, by the way. We feel slightly robbed.

Anyway…

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What Are America’s 10 ‘Most Hated’ Brands? And Why?

Lord VoldemortToday we came across a list of “America’s 10 Most Hated Companies” courtesy of Ragan’s PR Daily and 24/7 Wall Street, which compiled the worst of the worst based on “stock performance, employee and customer satisfaction, and management decisions.”

We were intrigued, so we figured we’d peruse the list and see what we could make of it. What are these brands, and what did they do to offend the American public (and their investors) so badly?

Here they are, along with our past and present theories on why they suck:

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‘Skepticism’ Is One of RIM’s Many Problems

Research in Motion has got 99 problems and satisfying demand ain’t one. (Ha… groan.) Bloomberg reports that weak sales are leaving BlackBerrys and PlayBook tablets in warehouses to collect dust, the value of that inventory reaching $1 billion last quarter. Layoffs are in the offing. Losses are coming. They’ve hired JPMorgan and Royal Bank of Canada to reassess its strategy. Maybe they can do something about this.

Yesterday, trading on RIM stock was halted while CEO Thorsten Heins delivered some bad news. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that RIM is having a very hard time keeping up with Apple and the other competition.  The company is promising a new strategy, but an underlying issue the company has to overcome may be more insidious than the already huge business obstacles: “skepticism.”

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BlackBerry Takes Cheesy to a New Level With Gawker Ad

BlackBerry has placed a “sponsored” post on Gawker featuring a firm called Small Girls PR, which got its awful name presumably because the founders are short. They list their heights on the homepage of the firm’s website; both are under 5′ 5″.

The second clip in the ad stars another young female entrepreneur (above) telling the story of how she’d be absolutely lost and couldn’t possibly be quite as bold if she didn’t have her BlackBerry Bold with her at all times.

Blech.

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Best Buy, BlackBerry Promise Change, But It Sounds Much the Same

In the face of changing consumer habits and shifts in mobile technology, two business giants — Best Buy and Research in Motion — have announced changes in their business strategies.

After a weak earnings report, Best Buy says it’s going to close 50 stores and cut 400 jobs. The news comes just a couple of months after a Forbes article ran with a headline “Why Best Buy is Going Out of Business… Gradually.” The article pointed to poor and annoying customer service along with some product flops (like 3D TV) and retail’s move online as reasons for Best Buy’s slow demise.

More recently, CNET called Best Buy a showroom for Amazon. Ouch.

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Corporate Execs in the Hot Seat, Getting Burned

Photo: Pier Paolo Cito/AP

Smells like bacon? Oh, that’s just the aroma of corporate leaders getting burned by bad press, crisis situations, and business downturns. It’s not anything new necessarily, but three’s a trend so why not take a closer look at three recent cases, shall we?

First we have the case of the quiet CEO — Mickey Arison, CEO of Carnival, which owns the Costa Concordia, the ship that ran aground off the coast of Italy on January 13 killing, at last count, 13 people. Pier Luigi Foschi, CEO of Costa Crociere SpA, Carnival’s Italian arm, has been speaking publicly, mostly to blame the captain, Francesco Schettino, who, with his ability to trip and fall to safety, is the luckiest mariner in the history of sea travel.

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Four Steps to Get BlackBerry Back on the Positive Path

Photo: Adrian Wyld/AP

News today from BlackBerry is that Research in Motion is offering $100 worth of free apps and a month of free tech support to customers to make up for the outage last week. Apps will be available for download starting Wednesday, and the freebies include the game Bejeweled, photo editing apps, and a radio app.

According to the press statement about the offer, customers in the U.S. experienced one day without service while those in Europe had three days of interruptions.

Along with the video apology from RIM exec Mike Lazaridis, this is a step in the right direction. But a few games of Texas Hold ‘Em definitely won’t solve Research in Motion’s problems. “BlackBerry is on a sinking ship, and this could topple Research in Motion over the cliff of no return,” writes ZDNet. After the jump, we have four tips to help the company start down the long path of reputation recovery.

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BlackBerry Outage is Over, But the Repercussions Continue

Research in Motion co-CEO Mike Lazaridis has recorded an apology to customers for the global BlackBerry outage that impacted customers this week. In it, he sounds much more subdued than he did back in April, when he stormed out of a media interview because he didn’t like the questions he was asked.

Of course, customers have already taken to all sorts of social networks as well, some re-stating their love for BlackBerry, outage be damned, but more often to declare that they’re buying an iPhone as soon as they can. On Facebook, BlackBerry has racked up thousands of comments; commenters are replying to Lazaridis’ apology video on YouTube; and BlackBerry hashtags had been trending on Twitter.

BlackBerry says things are now back up and running, but the damage from this outage will continue.
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Tools Round Up: Google+ for Businesses; a Secret Facebook App; and More

Google+ will unveil new tricked out features and analytics for businesses sometime around the third quarter of this year. No details yet about what those bells and whistles will be, but VentureBeat warns that if businesses decide to jump the gun with a consumer profile, they won’t be able to migrate their info to the business version. (Google+ is also dealing with a hubbub over accounts that were suspended in order to keep fake profiles at bay. Mashable has more.)

TechCrunch had revealed Facebook’s secret iPad app, but then Facebook shut down access. TechCrunch still has pictures.

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RIM Source Says Branding Message is Part of the Company’s Problem

Research In Motion reported some unimpressive Q1 results on Thursday and its stock paid the price on Friday. Business Insider has been digging for info about what the heck happened, and one source says that part of the problem is the company’s branding message.

“Their recent efforts with the ‘BlackBerry LOVE’ campaign have failed – and I think it is obvious that the ‘LOVE’ theme is simply inconsistent with the real and authentic ‘can do’, ‘make it happen’, and ‘entrepreneurial’ attitude of their core user base. The campaign was not authentic to the true nature of the company,” the source said.

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