Black Berry’s success is primarily based on the fact that it positioned itself away from the major players such as Nokia, Motorola and Sony Ericsson. Yes Black Berry does have a distinctive market position, which has been one of the main reasons that they have fared so well over the last few years. By differentiating themselves from their rivals, they have been protected in terms of market share and have therefore achieved a user base of around 8 million by the year 2007 (Baines, Fill, & Page, 2008, pp. 29-33).
This distinctive market position has made it possible for them to grow and now they are sufficiently placed to enter into direct competition with their rivals. For example, there have been rumors circulating that a Blackberry model that uses Touch screen technology is going to be launched soon as it is in direct competition with a similar product of Apple (Malley, 2008). Blackberry has positioned itself away from the market by focusing on the concepts of Communication, Efficiency, Effectiveness and Productivity.
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In the market of enterprise users and pro-sumers where they are currently operating, they have achieved this position by providing a solution to the “two mailbox” problem through their push technology which affords them a significant edge over their competitors. Also, Black Berry is positioned in the mind of the consumer as an innovation due to their push technology as well as other advantages they offer such as competitive prices, and enhancing the ability of business users to operate many channels from their integration technology (Baines, Fill, & Page, 2008, pp. 29-33).
Due to their supreme technology, they have been able to achieve a highly coveted position in terms of brand identity. Customers have begun to substitute the brand name of Black Berry for the whole category, for example, if some wants to contact an acquaintance or a colleague, he or she may say, “Please Black Berry me next week. ” BlackBerry has positioned itself strategically away from competitors on the basis of high level technology such as its push technology and also by providing optimal security in data transfer (Baines, Fill, & Page, 2008; Baines, Fill, & Page, 2008).
Q2. Identify the strategy pursued by BlackBerry based on the strategy clock? Answer. BlackBerry initiated its campaign with a Focused Differentiation strategy. A focused differentiation strategy provides products and/or services to a specific market segment which is different from the rest of the market due to some demographic, behavioral, cultural or other distinctive factor. This is a small segment of the market, termed as a niche (Johnson, Scholes, & Whittington, 2008). In the case of BlackBerry, they segmented the market and identified two key segments that they have focused on. Learn also BlackBerry SWOT
These are the enterprise users and career driven and ambitious people (Baines, Fill, & Page, 2008, pp. 29-33). Blackberry has focused on these two niches primarily in their early years. BlackBerry has achieved enormous growth in revenue and profits by following the niche strategy. Revenues have increased by about 66 % for the third quarter of 2008 as compared to the same quarter last year. Their profits over the same period have increased by around 7 % as compared to last year (Thaindian News, 2008).
This shows that despite the economic recession that the world is experiencing, BlackBerry has managed to show a significant level of growth that symbolizes the strength of the concept and application of their chosen strategy. Recently, BlackBerry has moved forwards by applying a Broad Differentiation strategy (Johnson, Scholes, & Whittington, 2008). Blackberry has now decided to take on competitors by venturing forth into broader markets. These include students and leisure users.
By focusing on such broad markets, BlackBerry has made itself susceptible to competitors and may face stiffer struggles than it has been used to in the past. By moving on to the new strategy, and succeeding in its application, BlackBerry has shown that it has competitive advantage in many aspects, such as superior technology, data security and brand value. These advantages will continue to favor BlackBerry in the professional user market. It however needs to innovate and market its products more with changing times and with different segments. In segments such as leisure users, other factors and features are more important.
For example, leisure users may prefer phones that are viewed as fashion statements and show a sense of style (Katz & Sugiyama, 2005). And students may use the cellular phones as status symbols (Ezine articles, 2007). Enterprise users can set up a messaging system within their organization, using the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (Giguere). These factors set apart BlackBerry and highlight its differentiation strategy.
Q3. What specific market opportunities are available for Blackberry going forward? Answer. BlackBerry is going to face tougher competition than it has ever endured in its short life.
By entering the main fray, it will be “roughed up” by its rivals, who will try to drive it away before it seizes any of their market. BlackBerry will have to reposition itself and focus more on attributes that are more important in the eyes of the mass market. For example, the issue of price becomes more important now. BlackBerry has launched new models that cater to the price sensitive users, such as students. For example, the BlackBerry 7100T is available for $199, which is much less than most existing BlackBerry products and also less than competitive brands (Business Week, 2004).
To compete for women consumers, BlackBerry has launched the Pink BlackBerry Pearl that specifically targets women (Gizmodo US Edition, 2008). The pink color has traditionally been seen as feminine, so the pink handset clearly targets this segment. The pink handset may also appeal to other segments such as homosexuals. Additionally, BlackBerry has considered launching the 3 G Capable BlackBerry and the Touch Screen BlackBerry smart phones and palmtops that are in direct competition with products of competitors such as Apple (Malley, 2008).
These new technological innovations will attract the “techies” and computer and technology oriented consumers.
Q4. How might BlackBerry reposition itself in offering an appeal to attract students and leisure market users? To what extent is this strategy viable / sustainable? Answer. Students and leisure users are generally more price sensitive. To attract this market, a low-cost strategy (Johnson, Scholes, & Whittington, 2008) may need to be adopted. In this strategy, BlackBerry would need to provide a product that is of a lower price than consumers. Read about positioning of Nike
Simultaneously, the product has to have aesthetic value, such as different colors and styles. Ergonomics is also very important, such as the shape of the phone and smaller size. These factors are more important for students and the younger generation. Technologically, BlackBerry has to maintain higher standards than competitors. Technologies that are important to the student segment include messaging, email, voice mail, etc. This strategy of low cost would effectively mean a heads-on collision with the giants in the industry, such as Nokia, Siemens and others.
To compete in this segment, RIM, the manufacturers of BlackBerry will have to invest heavily in R&D to counter the different products that their competitors will respond with. But, on the whole, in my opinion, BlackBerry has done brilliantly, where others have failed, so there is no reason why they cannot succeed here.
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