BlackBerry 10: A Classic PR Case Study

bb10While the new and much-anticipated BlackBerry 10 has finally launched, there’s another story that I think is as compelling: the public relations campaign that has happened over the past six months that let RIM arrive at today’s launch day with the wind in its sails.

The PR work has been an impressive performance given there was so much negativity and pessimism surrounding RIM’s future and the frustrating stumbles it had made – anyone remember the not-ready-for-primetime PlayBook?

Using a combination of outreach, selective information leaks, transparency and access to senior executives, RIM has managed to capture a growing amount of positive sentiment. It means RIM has a good opportunity to launch BB10 to a receptive audience. It doesn’t guarantee BB10 will be a success, but it won’t be for a lack of PR activity.

It is important to remember that consumers, the media and bloggers are fickle. They love you one minute, they dislike you the next. And getting them to change their minds can be a huge challenge.

RIM’s ability to get a growing number of people to give it another shot or, at least, the opportunity to make a new impression should not be under-estimated.

For startups, there are many lessons to be learned from RIM’s PR activities.

Perhaps the biggest is the importance of building relationships with reporters, the media and analysts. It doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it takes a well-defined plan, focus and a lot of grunt work. If you’re successful, it provides the opportunity for your story to get a fair hearing, which is all you ask.

More: With the new launch, BlackBerry is the company’s new corporate name. April Dunford has some thoughts on why this is the right move.

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  • John Bugailiskis

    The marketing behind the BB 10 unveiling was fairly impressive overall. Yesterday’s presentation to media however went too long and the addition of Alicia Keys looked like a last minute addition with the onstage banter looking awkward at best. That said, product launches are relatively simple compared to the work involved in maintaining momentum over the next six months which BlackBerry must succeed in doing. Looking forward to seeing what comes next.

    • Mark Evans

      I agree it could have been short and still showcased many of the features. I think there might have been so much build up, BlackBerry felt the need to put on a show.

  • Mark Evans

    Having seen an alpha version of BB10, I think it’s positioned between the iPhone and Android, which is not small feat. With that achieved, BB now has to drive marketing to show people why BB10 as good or better than the competition. As you suggest, it’s going to be a huge challenge but I think the BB10 gives the company a good shot. If the device was seen as nothing special, it would have been end of game yesterday.