BlackBerry in India: Losing its Premium Image?

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG291
Case Length :16 Pages
Period :2010-2011
Pub Date : 2012
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization :Research In Motion
Industry : Smartphones
Countries : India

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"BlackBerry has lost its premium image. This is a harsh reality for brands that want to go mass in India. But if numbers are a concern, it pays to lose the premium edge. If the company had stayed premium in imagery, it would have remained a niche player."

-Naresh Gupta, National Planning Director, Cheil Worldwide SW Asia1 , in May, 2011.

Research in Motion (RIM), a Canadian telecommunication and wireless device company popularly known as the developer of the BlackBerry smartphones2 and Tablet PC3 , entered India in 2004 targeting the enterprise segment. Initially, the company priced its BlackBerry mobiles quite high, affordable only to corporate employers. The use of enterprise applications4 put the BlackBerry in the hands of corporate people and the company achieved significant success. BlackBerry soon achieved a leadership position in the smartphone segment in India catering to high-end enterprise customers. Over the years, people in the middle and junior management levels too started aspiring for a BlackBerry. To take advantage of this aspirational aspect, RIM decided to shed its enterprise image and target youths and teens.

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In pursuit of this goal, the brand had lost its exclusivity, contended some marketing experts. But RIM decided to go mass in India. In 2011, BlackBerry had a range of models targeted at every possible consumer segment - senior management professionals, young executives, women, and even those who had just crossed their teens. In order to tap the potential in Tier-II and Tier-III cities in India, RIM planned to strengthen its sales and service network in these cities. Experts were skeptical about BlackBerry's decision to go mass and wondered whether this move would give the company the expected results considering the stiff competition in the market.

About RIM - Next Page >>

1] Cheil is an advertising and consultancy agency. It began in 1973 in Seoul, South Korea, with the goal of making Samsung the No. 1 electronics company in the world.
2] A smartphone is a high-end mobile phone built on the mobile computing platform, with more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary feature phone. These models typically also serve as portable media players and camera phones with high-resolution touch screens, web browsers that can access and properly display standard web pages rather than only mobile-optimized sites, GPS navigation, Wi-Fi, and mobile broadband access.
3] A Tablet computer, or a Tablet, is a mobile computer, larger than a mobile phone or personal digital assistant, integrated into a flat touch screen and primarily operated by touching the screen rather than using a physical keyboard.
4] Enterprise application software (EAS) is software used in organizations such as in a business or government, as opposed to software chosen by individuals. Enterprise software is an integral part of an Information system. It improves the productivity of the organization with minimal resources.

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