Different Is Better: Blackberry Must Emphasize the Z10’s Competitive Strengths


Image from: Blackberry 10 / n4bb.com

Blackberry created a top-notch phone and new OS for its crucial comeback, but sold themselves short when marketing the device. The company formerly known as RIM spent a whopping $4 million dollars on its Super Bowl commercial. The ad did not significantly increase traffic to Blackberry’s site, unlike other brands like Jeep or Axe.  Compete’s Super Bowl Analysis showed Blackberry.com’s Daily Reach only spiked on January 30th when the Blackberry 10 was officially announced, but not following the game-day ad. The announcement barely pushed Blackberry’s traffic passed its competitor, Samsung.

Blackberry Daily Reach


The theme of the Super Bowl commercial was “It’s easier to show what it doesn’t do,” but, the Z10 needed the exact opposite messaging. Blackberry needed to give a competitive differentiator, how it’s different from other touch screen smartphones, especially since its fourth to the market.

The Z10 has improved app options, a smarter keyboard, and allows users to peek at other apps and flow through them with ease. Additionally, with Blackberry Balance–a new feature– users can seamlessly switch between a work phone and personal phone on one device. Instead of trying to be ‘the phone that can do everything’, they should have highlighted these unique capabilities. This is exactly what other competitive products are doing: for example when announcing the new HTC One last week, HTC highlighted three things that it – and only it – can do, with very specific and with catchy names.

Completely dissimilar to the launch of Blackberry 10 and the Z10 in terms of competitive differentiators, Samsung launched the Galaxy SIII in September last year and made a splash with ad campaigns specifically targeted at the competition. Their commercial “The Next Big Thing is Already Here” made comparisons to the iPhone and its users while succinctly calling out specific features that made the SIII seem superior.  The campaign worked; Compete’s data revealed shoppers who viewed a Samsung Galaxy SIII video commercial on YouTube were on average 10x more likely to view a Galaxy SIII product page on a Big-4 carrier website compared to shoppers not exposed to the commercials. Below, you can see that Samsung.com had a large increase in Unique Visitors with the Galaxy SIII release, well planned with the holiday shopping season in-mind. In contrast, Blackberry has experienced a near-steady decline in traffic the past two years, even with the hype around their announcement in January.

Blackberry Samsung UVsBlackberry carries the stigma of being the device that can’t do much. The Z10 is poised to change that stereotype, but so far Blackberry has been unable to make their message of being more than just a work phone resonate with consumers. It is imperative for Blackberry to improve their marketing efforts around competitive advantages, and fortunately, they still have time. The launch of the Z10 is critical for Blackberry, especially in the US, where its market share has dropped 5% between 2011 and 2012 to 1.1% per Kantar Worldpanel Comtech data. To regain its status, Blackberry must do what its Super Bowl ad failed to do: show consumers beyond their core audience how the Z10 is different from the competition.