RIM’s Rebranding: Did Research In Motion Make a Major Mistake?

by Modis on March 25, 2013

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What’s in a name? As it turns out: everything. RIM’s rebranding to Blackberry was an epic move for the Waterloo company. After losing its (once massive) share of the smartphone market, big changes were needed. That change came in the form of a new phone, new OS, and new name. But were these changes for the better?

Rebranding can be like starting over. It can also be a painful reminder. It’s all in the way that a company approaches the rebrand. Most tend to move in broader directions in order to allow spaces for new products and developments.

Starbucks, for example, was once “Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spices.” The company decided to sell things other than coffee, tea, and spices (scones or cake pops, anyone?), so the name was shortened to simply “Starbucks.”

Some companies avoid the name change game altogether. Focus is, instead, placed on logo or product change. Apple’s current silver logo was striped at one time and McDonald’s now serves lattes and salads, for example. BlackBerry has gone a completely different route.

This route begs consumers to forget the many mistakes the former RIM made — by changing the company’s name to the device that has disappointed for five long years (at least the company didn’t rebrand to “Playbook!”).

To be fair, the Z10 is a large step up for BlackBerry, and it’s clear that the company has -almost- finally caught up with the likes of Apple and Android this time around. The Z10 does include a rich platform and earlier reviewers have touted it as “promising,” but it still won’t make a dent in Apple or Android sales.

Unfortunately the Z10 simply isn’t mind-blowing — and BlackBerry needs mind-blowing. This device almost catches up to competitor devices, but it still falls short with features such as a non-competitive camera quality, sub-par storage and a very bare app store. These features should’ve “wow-ed” consumers in order to prove a real threat to competitors. A device that’salmost good enough makes it hard to forget the BlackBerry that once was.

“Research In Motion” was never a recognizable name. A rebrand was inevitable, but changing the name of the company to “BlackBerry” is like rubbing salt in consumer wounds. Hopefully, the company’s new devices and intelligent OS will be enough to keep BlackBerry afloat.

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