Loot who’s talking

Managing Partner David Atkinson takes time out to briefly ponder the question asked by The Marketing Society Forum last week – “Will Blackberry’s association with the recent riots affect the brand?”

My answer is YES. Just as Twitter has been lambasted for being the tool du jour for breaking superinjunction infidelity confidentialities, Blackberry is being tarnished by being the medium for looting lunatics.  This is tantamount to blaming roadbuilders for speeding motorists or landlords for student hygiene.  Blackberry just happens to be the device owned by around 37% of Britain’s teenagers, and like Burberry or Stella Artois, has suffered from its image rather than actually being responsible for the problem. 

Blackberry encryptions enable BBM messages to go undetected or untracked, hence making it most appropriate for sharing criminal suggestions.  And it is this that will undoubtedly harm the brand meaning that restorative marketing will need to follow in future. 

But it’s not so long ago in the telecoms world, that Nokia ruled, and Blackberry was the city boy status symbol.  The speed of new product development, marketing comms, sponsorships and gizmos means that consumer profiles, vogues and passions, image and perception can turn in days or months rather than years. 

So, whilst I believe that some people will blacklist Blackberry for negative image association, like those other brands I’ve mentioned, it will recover so long as the product keeps pace with the wildly innovative market.

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