Living the 21st century, we are living the era of technology and innovations (Hetling, Watson, Horgan, 2014). In order to maintain a position between the top ones on the list, we have to do our best in surviving the challenges. During the years not all brands manage to handle the challenges, so some of them start losing the peace and begin to fade.
Marketers must actively manage brand equity over time ( Keller, 2013). That will help them protect the current brand equity, but also in some cases reinforcement is necessary to remind the consumers of the brand meaning; as well as to identify new sources of brand equity.
An example of fading brand due to the speed of discoveries and innovations is Blackberry, the mobile phones company. They exist on the market since 1985 appearing as Research in Motion limited which later has been renamed in Blackberry limited (Wikipedia, 2016).
Releasing the first device Interactive pager 900 in 1996 they have had major success. Their brand equity characterized them as durable and safe mobile phones which majorly has been used by businessmen and government agents. Their product portfolio characterizes with classic look and simplicity which replaces the office when out of it (Parab, 2013).
Nowadays, Blackberry's brand equity is on the edge of extinction due to the big pressure from their biggest competitors Apple and Android (Emigh, 2010). Resulting with losing the market share, in August 2013 they have announced their intention to sell the company. This idea hasn't been realized and later that year they have replaced the existing CEO.
Blackberry in their reinforcement plan have increased the product portfolio with new models of Blackberry smart phones. The mobile phone sale has been eclipsed by their competitor Nokia. In order to increase the sales, they have made their product range accessible for the middle class professionals. This step has increased their consumer group. Being consistent doesn't mean not making any changes in the marketing program (Keller, 2013), on the contrary, managing brand equity means making changes in order to maintain the brand. Blackberry has taken few actions towards this phase of the reinforcement, CEO have changed the advertising company and requested them to create ads where the consumers will be educated on the use of Blackberry devices.
The new ads were sending a message to the consumers that Blackberry can be used in industries such as healthcare, insurance, government (Wasserman, 2014).
The Blackberry innovations in their product line has increased the brand awareness among customers.
Sometimes product awareness can be managed by introducing new or improved products in the product line. At the same time it is important not to change the product too much, because it may result in losing the loyal customers. Also brand improvements shouldn't be introduced too soon, because it may result in reducing the sales of the existing products.
In 2008 president Obama has been known for using blackberry during the elections, where most of the people interrelated him with celebrity endorsement for Blackberry.
Despite the product range Blackberry has been extremely affected from the other market competitors by dragging down their sales as well as reducing the number of active users.
In their trails to revitalize the brand, they have adapted their devices to work with Android.
Few surveys have been done in order to testify the brand equity. The major target market in the surveys were students and business professionals. The research results has shown that students prefer Apple or Android devices for everyday activities. Most of the reasons students decide to go for Apple or android over Blackberry is the design of the devices, also they have described the devices as boring and undependable (Potter, 2012). While on the other hand, business professionals prefer Blackberry due to the design of the keyboard which is great for typing emails.
SWOT analysis of Blackberry has shown that:
Adjustments to the brand portfolio requires long term view and careful considering the innovations as well as the competitor market. Migration strategies has been present in Blackberry at the beginning when the initial company Research in Motion Limited appeared on the marked with the pager and later they have modified it into a mobile phone that is able to send and receive calls, texts, emails and take photos. The latest generation Blackberry devices are touch screen in order to cope with the latest technology, but innovators still keep the keyboard which can be easily slide out on the device, which is the key characteristic for the brand.
In order Blackberry to acquire new customers they need to improve the product design, so can be described as “fashionable” and more over keep the existing ones by keeping their identified strengths. Furthermore, they need improvements in the marketing strategy in order to revitalize their brand equity. One of the possible strategies is by massive marketing campaigns between teenagers and college students which will increase the market share. If they don't take any other steps, the security of the devices and battery life won't stop their rivals to completely take them out of the market (Potter, 2012).
In fading brands the brand awareness is the key factor in forming the brand equity. Sometimes we have to implement new strategies in order to improve the strength, favourability and uniqueness of brand associations (Keller, 2013). As part of the repositioning the target market should be carefully analysed as well as the product portfolio. Blackberry kept updating the brand portfolio, but the only target were businesses, governmental organizations, ignoring the younger population which is the momentum of today's market share.
If a brand identifies fading crisis and after all efforts can't improve the drive, would be better to consolidate the brand into a stronger one or in worse case scenarios discontinue the particular product, which in Blackberry's case - means shutting '
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