Internal and External Factors Affecting Blackberry Brand

Internal Factors

Internal factors affecting the ability of Blackberry to compete effectively in the market include RIM dual leadership approach and the resources the entity controls. For instance, with its co-CEO strategy, it becomes difficult for the entity to have effective communication that delineates a single approach to managing business operations such as marketing communication strategy (Chris, 2011). Such a challenge would for instance arise when RIM’s two CEOs support different approaches in achieving recovery. The different positions would affect employee performance with employees taking sides to safeguard their jobs. For instance, the entity’s top leadership was divided on the approach that would be employed to launch its tablet, the Blackberry playbook. While some of the leadership supported a launch targeted to the corporate and business clients, others saw a need to embrace a customer-centric approach to market the product to ordinary consumers (Dvorak, Vranica & Ante, 2011). Such differences in opinion have been cited to have led to resignations of the entity’s core marketing and developer relations staff (Chris 2011; Dvorak, Vranica & Ante, 2011; Sharp, 2011).

Ineffective leadership affects marketing communications in various ways. Firstly, leadership divisions influence the timing of marketing communications thus curtailing the extent to which an entity can capture the available opportunity to increase the efficacy of its communications activities. For instance, Chris (2011) notes of an existing perception of Apple as a bully corporation that RIM can use to enhance the effect of its marketing activities by orienting its marketing communications as a challenger rather than an invincible market leader. RIM may however fail to realize such an opportunity with different opinions regarding the strategy it should take to market its new products (Dvorak, Vranica & Ante, 2011).

On the positive contribution of internal factors, a favorable financial performance over the last seven years has allowed the entity to increase its expenditure on research and development. For instance, the proportion of revenue committed to research and development has increased from 6.2% in 2009 to 6.8% in 2011 (RIM Ltd., 2011, p.1). With increasing revenues over the corresponding period (RIM Ltd., 2011, p. 1), the amount committed to research and development has thus increased. Such increased expenditure on research and development ensures the entity develops applications that offer value to customers thus enhancing brand image by providing functional, experiential and symbolic benefits to the customers (Grace & O’Cass, 2002).

External Factors

External factors affecting Blackberry’s market status include legislation, prevailing economic conditions and technological aspects. With respect to legislation, RIM has been engaged in litigation involving patent infringement and class actions. For instance, in 2009, the entity agreed to settle a dispute with Visto to a tune of $267.5 million in respect to patents related to its email services (Silver & Weinberg, 2009). The entity also has received class action lawsuits following the outage of its services in October (Herbst 2011). The prevailing economic conditions also affect RIM’s business. Since Blackberry products have cheaper close substitutes (e.g. PCs and mobile phones), adverse economic conditions could affect the performance of such products greatly. This could for instance explain the lower growth in the entities sales between 2009 and 2010 (RIM Ltd, 2011, p.1), when the effects of the global economic crisis were prevalent. Technology also affects Blackberry’s brand performance with rapid technological advancements reducing the product lifecycle in Blackberry’s market. Accordingly, RIM must remain innovative to ensure that it provides customers with products that meet the dynamic needs spurred by the wide range of applications available in the market. Go to part four.

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