BLACKBERRY IS NO LONGER JUST FOR THE SUITS.
McDermott, John email@example.com
Advertising Age; 2/11/2013, Vol. 84 Issue 6, p20-20, 1p
*CHIEF marketing officers
DESIGN & construction
RESEARCH In Motion Ltd.
BOULBEN, Frank -- Interviews
An interview is presented with Frank Boulben, Chief Marketing
Officer (CEO) of the high technology industries firm BlackBerry,
formerly Research in Motion Ltd. Boulben states that the
company's BlackBerry 10 smartphone was designed to appeal to
consumers for purposes other than business. He says that many
consumers wish to have a physical keyboard on their smartpones.
Boulben discusses marketing strategy for the BlackBerry 10.
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BLACKBERRY IS NO LONGER JUST FOR THE SUITS
CMO Frank Boulben talks about creating a phone for the professional and the artist in us all
If half the fun of being a chief marketer is helping your company overcome branding challenges, no
one is having more fun than BlackBerry CMO Frank Boulben. Not only does his company hold a
dismal 5% of smartphone-market share, he faces stiff competition from Apple and Google's Android.
But with the release of the company's latest smartphone platform, BlackBerry 10, Mr. Boulben is
determined to turn BlackBerry from David back into Goliath. So far, the company has taken over The
New York Times home page, hosted the newspaper's inaugural Dealbook conference in December,
run its first Super Bowl ad and changed its name to BlackBerry from Research in Motion.
Mr. Boulben's biggest obstacle, however, will be convincing the world that BlackBerrys are no longer
just for the boardroom.
BlackBerry has always been the quintessential professional device, but now you've built all these
entertainment experiences into it.
We invented the smartphone category back in 1999. What happened six years ago -- and it was
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primarily driven by the U.S. market -- a new paradigm emerged in which three elements became
important: web browsing, multimedia and apps. We started to develop those on BlackBerry 7, but
BlackBerrys were used primarily in the corporate environment. The applications on the device were
being restricted by IT departments. Consumers were not experiencing the full scope of what was
developed for those devices, and very often you'd go to Wall Street and see people with two devices.
One for work, one for play.
Yes. And so what we wanted to do with our new platform was address all facets of your life: the
personal and the professional. On a smartphone today, you expect a great browser, great multimedia
capabilities and a large number of apps. We've built those three things, but that's table stakes.
The dominant paradigm right now is something I call "in and out." You want to do something, you
click on the app icon. If you want to do something else, you press the home button and you click on
another app. The paradigm we've introduced is there is no home button. You flow seamlessly from
one thing to another with simple gestures.
I was surprised at how happy people were when you announced that the Q10 would have a physical
Some consumers want a physical-keyboard-typing experience, so they can type without looking. But
they also want the largest possible screen.
So there's a segment of your target market that's willing to trade that inch of screen for a physical
We're not going to dictate which form factor people are going to take. But we're going to try to do the
best possible of both. If you want the large screen of the Z10, there's no compromising your typing
experience. On the Q10, if you're a die-hard physical-keyboard person, we've extended that screen
by 20% and it gives you a great viewing experience. I'm pretty sure that a number of "die-hard"
physical-keyboard users will switch to the Z10.
What makes you think people who haven't previously transitioned to an all-touchscreen phone are
going to do it now?
Not only is it the predictive text, but the phone learns which keys you are likely to press. There is a
heat map under the virtual keyboard. So, if you have a tendency to press in between certain keys and
correct yourself three times, it will learn what you meant to type and correct it automatically.
What's your marketing plan to recapture share?
Marketing is all about showing what you can do vs. telling. What we started to do a number of months
ago is conduct face-to-face demonstrations of BlackBerry 10.