Blackberry stays focused on what made it great

With today's Blackberry results showing its bets on software - for managing devices and even driverless cars - are paying off, the brand still has some way to go to regain the traction and market share it had a decade ago.

What made Blackberry famous from the start was the security of its infrastructure and system, where texts, emails, calls were technically less hack-able than their competitors, making it a market leader such that it sparked the English word “crackberry”.  Despite this, it was distracted by trying to be all things to all people, rather than focus on this differentiating attribute.

This similarly is what happened to my client Sony Ericsson, which had a world-famous brand asset since its inception (the Sony Walkman) that it didn’t exploit commercially, instead focusing on technical features it thought were “wow factors” and allowing Apple to eat their lunch with the iPhone.

Like Blackberry, market leadership inevitably seems to lead to complacency and hubris.  Sony Ericsson refused to believe Apple would ever launch a phone, despite the leaked drawing of it at the Jan 2006 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and Apple’s poaching of Sony Ericsson’s top engineers

The bottom line? Losing touch with what you’re good at - and what your consumers care about -  by the seduction of technical wizardry comes at a price.  Blackberry today is back to focusing on its core capabilities, betting that its new Opus device will help restore its fortunes.

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