3 Startup PR Lessons from Blackberry 10
It’s no secret. Research in Motion (RIM), creators of the once-dominant Blackberry has been floundering in the modern mobile industry. Saturday, they’ll launch Blackberry 10 - a product that will not only determine the fate of an industry giant, but offers three critical lessons for startups.
Lesson 1 – Know when to Pivot
In a way, RIM is like Apple. They dominated due to a closed, secure ecosystem combining hardware and an OS which fit perfectly into the enterprise. But those were the days when QWERTY keyboards on a phone were considered cool and the ability to get on the Internet or send e-mail from a phone was considered (as Steve Jobs would have said) “magic.” RIM is only now pivoting to introduce a product that may bring them somewhat up to date. And some are already saying it’s too late. Why didn’t they pivot sooner? What if they entrenched in enterprise security or reinvented themselves as IBM famously did when their hardware was surpassed by the competition? Know when to change direction and reinvent yourself.
Lesson 2 – You only launch once
Startups launch once, and only once. The most thrilling aspect of startup PR is knowing that a company’s success or failure often hangs in the balance of a launch. RIM is an industry giant, but in this case they need to be examined like a startup. If this launch fails, so too will the company’s entire current business model. While PR and marketing are only one component of the launch formula, for startups it’s one of the most critical parts of the equation.
Lesson 3 – Perception is everything
Some, like Fredric Paul of ReadWrite claim “the mobile Industry has moved on” from Blackberry. He’s right, just look at sales numbers or the lines of people outside an Apple store or (occasionally) one of the seemingly-infinite Android retailers before a launch. Creating the perception of a hot company that is filling an industry need is crucial. Blackberry is no longer seen as hot, and no longer fills a crucial industry need, now being filled by Apple and Android.
Is Anyone Watching?
In the end, industry analysts, journalists and IT security professionals are likely going to be the few groups closely following the launch of Blackberry 10. Consumers will be busy playing with their iPhones or Androids. At least we can all learn a few business lessons in the process.