Lessons from Other Industries: BlackBerry


Brent Renneke
February 11, 2013
Filed under Features, Top Stories

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of monthly articles on BoatingIndustry.com focusing on lessons from companies outside the marine industry. This month, we look at BlackBerry, a smartphone manufacturer who recently resurrected itself with a new name and a product that finally contends with Android smartphones and the Apple iPhone.

There was a time – not all that long ago – when BlackBerry was the premier option in the smartphone market. It originally took pride in, among other things, the non-touchscreen models that it envisioned was what the masses wanted.

However, Apple’s iPhone and Android hit the market, and it was evident that not only did consumers not mind the touchscreen, but also BlackBerry was unable to remain technologically competitive with these newcomers.

Come 2013, BlackBerry reemerged with a new look, new product and new ownership. Below are examples of how the company reinvented itself.

  • New leadership: After its old joint-CEOs were fired following countless complaints from shareholders about the company’s lack of innovation, BlackBerry appointed a new CEO whose hard-working, results-focused reputation led to its stock price rising.
  • Hiring Excitement: BlackBerry hired superstar musician Alicia Keys as its global creative director. She can be leveraged for exciting product launches and attaches a respected personality to its new products. She will also make recommendations for its products.
  • Updated operating system: Titled BlackBerry 10, it has features designed for the businessperson who originally made the company at one time popular, as well as introduced unique social media features that rival any of its competitors.
  • Mixing old with new: BlackBerry is releasing both a touchscreen model and one with its conventional keyboard, appealing to both those who have adapted to the touchscreen and for fanatics of the brand who favor the keyboard.

These changes were part of BlackBerry’s entry back into the smartphone world. It generated newfound excitement for a product that reinvented itself while not forgetting the features that made it once popular.

Long-term success is still far from certain, but BlackBerry’s Z10 launches in Canada and the United Kingdom were the most successful in its history.

Whether it is an outdated product or a defunct service, reinvention is possible in a way that revitalizes it for today’s consumer while also maintaining what made it at one time popular.


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