You are on page 1of 19

Report Prepared by Blair Threatt

The Future for BlackBerry: A Research Analysis

Prepared for the BlackBerry Corporation

May 2013

Table of Contents

Cover Letter to BlackBerry

Executive Summary & Research Objectives
Background & Secondary Research
Insights from Primary Research
Charts & Figures:
Figure 1
Figure 2-
Figure 3
Figure 4
Survey Questions
Focus Data Findings
Works Cited

Executive Summary:

My colleagues and I at Applesauce Wolfpack have concluded our evaluations of
Blackberry after 4 months of conducting our research analysis. The sole purpose of our
research was to find out why Blackberry lost their sparkle and their place in the hierarchy
of the cell phone market today. With the research conducted by us, ASW, we hope to
discover the problem and the crisis Blackberry is facing.
Overall our research process used a variety of methods. ASW wanted to first
make sure that our research findings would cater to our research objectives. So ASW
developed a list of research objectives before conducting our research. This way we
would still be able to assess both the strategy and direction for Blackberrys marketing on
future product launches, and what we find through our research could shape that.
Our main research objectives were as follows:
To find out what demographic of people would be best to market BlackBerry towards
To find out what makes other smartphones more appealing to current day users
To help increase BlackBerrys market share to at least 15-20% with the next phone
To gather information from the consumers on what would make them more likely to
purchase a BlackBerry over another rival smartphone
To find out what the young demographic (ages 13-21) thinks about the new BlackBerry
Z10 touchscreen smartphone
In addition to our main research objectives my colleagues and I at ASW also set
the goal of discovering ways that Blackberry could draw in more of their customers.
These suggestions or insights could provide new marketing techniques for their target
audience or even things such as collaborations with other companies or products in the
Our primary research consisted of conducting a focus group, developing and
sending out a survey to a mass audience, guerilla marketing, and interviews with
consumers on the subject. Through our primary research we discovered that Blackberry
has not properly adjusted their products to match the innovations of their competitors of
today. The biggest of these innovations was the app store and the usability of apps in
general on a device. Blackberry compared to their other smartphone competitors Apple
and Android is really lagging on both the availability of apps and the inability to run
thousands of apps on their phones. From our research we were able to see and hear the
how important applications are to a smartphone. In our focus group our participants made
it clear to us those apps such as Snap Chat, Instagram, and Pic Stitch, are apart of
the reasons why they love their smartphones. Our participants then stated that without
these applications on their smartphones they would be both less satisfied and happy with
their smartphones.
Another major point of discussion had to do with the price of cell phones in the
marketplace of today. Our participants expressed their dissatisfaction with the price of the
iPhone, which is made up for in all of the functions it can perform compared to other
phones. Then my colleagues and I brought up the question of brand loyalty with our
participants. We asked them that if Blackberry was able to create a phone with the same
capabilities as the iPhone but at a fraction of the price would they switch to the cheaper
one, and the answer they said was yes.
In addition to primary research we also did extensive secondary research to help
us develop a background on the subject itself. With this information we were able to
conduct a situational analysis of the trends of the industry. Because our primary was both
quantitative and qualitative we were able to gather insights on Blackberry and the
industry in general very easily, which helped us to shape our final thoughts and
conclusions on the issues with Blackberry.
Through our findings and analysis from our research my colleagues and I at ASW
we were able to develop a way to advise and aid Blackberry. We concluded that in the
end it all comes down to the applications and the capabilities that a smartphone has.
Consumers are not going to buy a phone that sacrifices and limits their ability to
communicate with everyone in their everyday life. With the emergence of social media
and the need to constantly to be aware of and connected with one another, technology has
made it possible for that to happen. In order for Blackberry to stay afloat or remerge into
the cell phone market they need to realize this, and adjust their technologies to fit the
innovations of today and their competitors.
Overall through our extensive research and analysis on both the market and
Blackberry, we were able to establish that Blackberry can hold the spot they once held in
the industry if they choose to make changes that will be further discusses in further
sections of this report.
Background and Secondary Research
As stated previously in the executive summary, the research that we conduct is
sought to help us figure out why Blackberry lost their reign they once had over the
cellphone market. My colleagues and I at ASW began our background research by
developing a timeline for Blackberry. Through this timeline we were able to see exactly
where Blackberry had began to fall in the market, and why it had occurred.
In the year 1999 was when BlackBerry first emerged with their first product ever,
and that was the RIM pager. The RIM pager was an essential for every businessman. It
was here that where Blackberry became known for its capabilities and necessity in the
business world. Three years later in 2002 brought the launch of the 6000 and 7000 series
of BlackBerrys, which was their series that specifically targeted everyday people. The
emergence of these phones was really popular especially because looking back they were
really the worlds first smartphones. BlackBerrys instant success in the beginning
propelled them straight to the top of the marketplace, where they remained for several
years later. It wouldnt be until 2007 when another competitor would challenge their
June 29, 2007 was definitely a date to remember because it changed the whole
industry and the way we think of smartphones in general; this is because this is when
Apple released their first iPhone. In the beginning BlackBerry showed little signs that
they were threatened by the release of this new product. But Apple came prepared. With
the launch of the iPhone they also brought new ideas for phones that were far beyond of
anything thought of before. One of these new innovations was the invention of the app
store, which gave the iPhone access to thousands of apps available for the consumers to
download, use, and entertain themselves. In addition to this Apple also had changed the
way cell phones were marketed in advertisements. With the release of the iPhone Apples
new advertisements were simple a demonstration of what a person could do on their
phone, which only showed not only the capabilities the phone had but how easy it is to
A year later in 2008, BlackBerry tried to come back at their competitor with the
release of the Storm. While the Storm was similar in appearance to the iPhone because of
its all touch screen, it was nowhere near as advanced with the innovations and
possibilities that the iPhone had. This year was also the same year when the HTC
Android emerged into the market as well. At no surprise with the emerging competition
BlackBerrys share dropped to the lowest it ever was that year as well. Even in the years
following BlackBerry would continue on the decline. While iPhone and Android kept
rising to their success because of their innovations, BlackBerry struggled to keep up.
In addition to our research objectives that we laid out in the beginning of this
report, my colleagues and I developed two main questions that we wanted to answer by
the end of our research analysis.
Those questions were the following:
What made BlackBerry fall out of grace from the consumers that once all owned the
What does BlackBerry need to do at this point to save the company from becoming
completely obsolete?
Overall when we look back at our research and our objectives we can see that
they have stemmed from these two questions. The first question was already answered by
our timeline because we were able to see exactly when and how the falling occurred.
Because of the iPhone as well as the emergence of newer innovations with technology,
we can see that BlackBerry simple fell behind in a race that when looking in the past they
should have been ahead it. But now looking back, we can conclude that BlackBerry
should have kept innovating while they were ahead instead of lavishing themselves in
their success. My colleagues and I at ASW hope that through our research, timeline, and
answering of the first question can help you further understand why BlackBerry is where
it is right now. Since we already answered the first question in our research we focused
on figuring out the answer to the second one. We hope by the end of our analysis to
answer that question, because as you might know BlackBerrys shares are down even
with the launch of the Z10 as seen in figure (>>>>>>>>).
ASW conducted extensive primary research on BlackBerry. For our primary
research we conducted a survey, focus group, and guerilla consumer interview. In
addition to those my colleagues and I at ASW also did extensive market research as well.
For our research we decided to focus on the college demographic because we felt
that they are trendsetters and consumers of the newest technologies to be introduced to
the market. Our target audience was between the ages of 18-24.
The sole reason ASW decided to conduct a survey is because it would provide us
both a basis for our research analysis as well as general insights about our target
audience. When ASW was developing the survey we wanted to focus on the aspect of
why people have the phone that they have. My colleagues and I decided to do this
because we truly wanted to see what people want in a phone. It is something that is
especially important now because phones are so innovated now. ASW also wanted to
know other things such as what applications are used the most, what is the best feature on
your phone, and what people used their smartphones for.
In our survey we received 150 participants, and our results were very similar to
what we found in our secondary research. We discovered that out of 150 participants
58% of the users owned iPhones, 26% owned HTC Androids, 5% owned BlackBerrys
and 13% stated other. Now if you look at figure (>>>>) youll see that our market
research shows similar results for college smartphone users as well. Because things like
these results were so similar, ASW was pleased with our survey and the results it
provided us with.
With these findings we hope BlackBerry can see not only how low their
percentages are but also how there is a problem, and they need to figure out a way to fix
it. For our full survey please refer to page.
Focus Group
For our focus group there was a similar approach to our research, but we
definitely gained different information. In this aspect of our primary research we really
wanted to focus on getting more of an opinion that we couldnt gain through the survey.
Having a focus group allowed us to hear custom responses from our target audience, and
it really helped.
Our focus group was conducted on Tuesday April 2
at 5:30 p.m. There were 5
participants, 4 females and 1 male, and they were all college students at USC. Since our
survey as well as our background research have provided us with the facts on why
BlackBerry has low ownership; we thought it would be good to ask our participants why
dont they own a BlackBerry?
Just as we saw with our background research and the emergence of the iPhone,
our participants stated that the capabilities on the iPhone arent even comparable to those
of a BlackBerry. From this insight ASW was then again able to confirm that innovation
and the capabilities of other smartphones today is a definite reason for BlackBerrys
However our participants also gave us another valuable insight. When my
colleagues and I at ASW asked, if the same capabilities the iPhone had were available
on a Blackberry for a cheaper price would you stay brand loyal or switch? All of our
participants said that they would not stay brand loyal and they would buy the BlackBerry.
This valuable information provided a lot of insight for our analysis and towards our
advice for BlackBerrys next step that will be talked about later in our conclusion. For
our full document from the focus group please refer to page.
Guerilla Consumer I nterviews
The guerilla consumer interviews that were conducted by my colleagues and I at
ASW were used to provide more insight on the issue at hand. ASW went to the
University of Southern California to ask students about their current phones, and what
would it take to get them to buy a BlackBerry.
From these interviews we saw that iPhone was definitely the dominant phone on
campus, and the go to phone for college students. The appearance, easy-to-use functions,
and over all capabilities an iPhone provides, students stated that until a BlackBerry was
able to match the iPhone on these standards they would not consider buying a
Market Research
The market research that my colleagues and I at ASW conducted over 5 months
allowed us to gain valuable insight in the BlackBerry problem and how to shape other
aspects of our research. Through our research we were able to make observations and
predictions about things we might discover in our further analysis of BlackBerry. One of
those observations was the apps and the app store issue, which weve covered earlier in
this report. By looking at the chart on page (>>>>>) that shows what phones app
developers are making apps for we can see that iPhones are the leaders with 85%
followed by Android at 75%, and BlackBerry at 54%. By BlackBerry only holding 54%
compared to their competitors, it is evident that apps are one of the setbacks that
BlackBerry faces. It is also important to note that most of the apps that are developed
specifically for BlackBerry fail to include some of the most popular ones used and
desired by consumers of their competition, such as Instagram.
I nsights from Primary Research
Since the emergence of BlackBerry the world has been forever changed. Looking
back at the time when BlackBerrys first came onto the market, we can see that they were
the most innovative things out there. Not only did they allow people to call, text, and
email from the palm of their hand, but also they were extremely functional. Even in a
time when Internet on the go was first emerging, they still were highly desired and
because looking back they were the worlds first smartphone. However, though
BlackBerry was highly innovated for its time, their innovations soon grew old and behind
as time went on.
As BlackBerry relished in their success and being at the top of the market, other
companies began developing new innovative ideas that would soon surpass them. This
was seen in 2008 with Apples release of the iPhone. The release of the iPhone
completely revolutionized cell phones. What functions that were considered innovative
before, now became basic functions. The iPhone truly showed consumers and the world
the new definition and innovations of smartphones.
Since BlackBerry failed to keep innovation other companies were able to out do
them, and eventually taking your customers and your place in the market. Because your
phones lack not only apps but also other necessities that have become the basic functions
of phones today on both Androids and iPhones, you have fallen behind.
Through our research and analysis of BlackBerry and the problem you are facing,
my colleagues and I at ASW were able to develop insights through our primary research.
Below are the insights that ASW has come up with based on the analysis of our research.
Merging of work and play.
Over the last decade people have transitioned with their phones. Back
when BlackBerry first was released it was known as a business phone. Before
smartphones most people in the workplace had both a personal phone and a business
phone, which was typically a BlackBerry. But rather than having 2 devices, phones are
becoming merged into one. Because of all the capabilities one smartphone can offer,
there really is no need to have that business phone separate from your personal. This
merging of work and play is one of the reasons why BlackBerry has become less
desirable to consumers.
Theimportance of social media.
The emergence of social media has had a big influence on the technology
today. Because of how important social media has become, everyone wants to constantly
stay connected and be involved with it. Todays technology as

Charts and Figures:

Figure 1:

Figure 2:

Figure 3:

Figure 4:

Survey Questions:
Survey Moderator Guide:
The survey you are being asked to complete is being conducted for BlackBerry by ASW
PR. We are engaging in this study to assess public perception of BlackBerry and cell
phone usage. The survey will take approximately 15 minutes and requires that you simply
respond by indicating the most appropriate choices. There are no right or wrong answers,
only your perspective on them. You will remain anonymous at all times and all responses
will be held in confidence. Thank you for your participation!
1. Please indicate the year in which you were born:
2. Do you have a cell phone?
3. At what age did you get your first phone?
4. What was your first phone?
5. What type of phone do you currently own?
6. If you answered "other" above, please tell us what type of phone you use:
7. What is the primary use of your phone?
8. How often do you use your phone?
9. Does your phone offer apps?
10. Would you keep your phone if you did not have access to apps?
11. What are some of the features you utilize most on your phone?
12. Roughly estimate how many hours a week you spend on your phone doing the
following: texting/calling, emailing, social media/internet, camera/GPS, Apps
13. In your opinion, what is the best function of the iPhone?
14. If BlackBerry came out with a new phone that had access to more apps than
iPhone, would you buy it?
15. If no, why not?
16. Do you know someone (beside yourself) who owns a BlackBerry? If so, who (i.e.
17. When do you intend on purchasing your next phone?
18. What phone do you think you will purchase next (indicate more than one if
19. What is your gender?
20. What is your annual income range?
21. What is the highest level of education you have completed or are in the process
of completing?
Survey Close:
Thank you for completing the survey! Your responses will help us better assess public
perception of BlackBerry and cell phone usage. If you would like more information or
have any questions regarding this survey, please contact ASW PR at 1-805-215-9073.
Your responses will remain anonymous and will be held with the strictest confidence. We
thank you for your time!
Focus Group Findings:
5 Participants: 4 female, 1 male
1. Maya, Female, Screen Writing Major, 18
2. Constantina, Female, Broadcast Journalism Major, 18
3. Chae, Female, Business Major, 20
4. Tina, Female, Psych and Global Medicine Major, 21
5. Brian, Male, Economics Major, 20

Career Aspirations?
Maya: One-hour drama on HBO/Showtime
Constantina: Own a pro franchise
Chae: Design/manage hotels/ hospitality industry
Tina: Med school, psychiatrist
Brian: Talk show host/TV producer

Age of first phone?
Ages: 10, 13, 13, 13, 15

Why did you get it?
Gift from parents, Christmas gift, Because her sister got one, Because everyone else was
getting one, Because my parents needed to keep tabs on me

First Phone?
Light blue chocolate slide phone, Samsung block phone (x2), Motorola flip phone, and
Nokia flip phone

Current Phone?
iPhone 4 (x3) , iPhone 5,= (x2)

Tell me about what you do/dont like about your iPhone? Why did you get it?
-The battery power sucks because of texting and apps even if its charged regularly
-I got it b/c its streamlined easy access across all devices
-Very functional
-I went to USC orientation and saw everyone had one so my mom got me one too.
-User friendly
-Very new apps specifically for iPhone
-Apps and features are the main sellers

* Blackberry cant snap chat or use Instagram.all focus group members agreed that was
a huge reason they wouldnt want a blackberry

Why wouldnt you want a Blackberry?
-Doesnt have Snap chat and Instagram
-Everyone else has an iPhone.

If Blackberry had those 2 apps would you get it?
-No because iPhone is easier to use, touch screen and has better connectivity

Why did you trade in your BlackBerry?
-Had Blackberry because she had T-Mobile, but the iPhone is universal, it has iMessages
versus blackberry Messenger. She wouldnt get iMessages when she had a blackberry.
iPhone was a huge splurge, and if blackberry was significantly cheaper and had same
functions she would have stayed with itbut then why not get Samsung or Nexus
because those are rivaling iPhone?

-They liked not having to carry around iPod, everything is there.
-They can multitask on iPhone
-They can talk and stream at same time
-iPhone makes you more connected to others, fact time, etc.
-It is harder to access stuff with a droid.

-In middle school everyone wanted a sidekick or razor. T-Mobile was in their prime,
They killed it, Thats before everyone cared about aesthetics.

-When they think of Blackberry they think of Blackberry messenger and business

-Internet capabilities came with their third phone, but had to pay a lot for a data package

-Had iPhone since July, Senior in high school, 2009 iPhone 3G came out

-Would never go to another phone except for Tina. She said she would switch if she
could get the same quality for cheaper price elsewhere. She would rather save money and
get another phone.
-Brian wouldnt because it would be a drag to transfer everything.

-Constantina, got an iPhone about 15 days ago

-Nexus and Galaxy are neck and neck w/ iPhone: They have more battery life, people
tried to sell her on the other ones instead of iPhone, but Blackberry wasnt even in the

-Blackberry also isnt very good w/ music.

-No one in the focus group knows what the new BB is called

Who do you think would have a Blackberry?
-Older people
-People in their 30s and older
-Successful Business People (wearing a suit writing an agenda)

*Blackberry is for business and iPhone for personal.

-They think the iPhone will keep the throne, No one can really take over.
But internationally they dont have a monopoly. (iPhone wont survive abroad)

-They would choose iPhone over Nexus and Samsung; it all comes down to features and
-But people would choose newer product versus an older iPhone.

-Do you get the iPhones as they are released?
-Yes and No
-Some waited until prices are down

After watching commercial the new Blackberry commercial:
I like that
Thats a plus, but wouldnt trade in intuitive functionality for easier access, Wouldnt
want to change phone if I had to learn a new way of navigating it,
Id be skeptical of the speed of blackberry,
Blackberry is known for bugs, I dont trust that brand,

What would it take for you to buy a blackberry?
-It would have to be a great price
-They would need to try it out to see if they liked it
-Good customer service
-Be able to trade it in etc. (Genius bar/Insurance aspect)

-They think blackberry is stuck in a rut, they need to focus on specific demo and target,
keeping you moving target night life or other specific target demo, Make some sort of
blackberry bar like the genius bar, They could cater it to the nightlife atmosphere, some
sort of incentive to cater to younger or older demo, like frequent flyer package or

-People end up talking to other people with iPhones more because you know who has it
or doesnt

-She judges if text messages comes through blue or green, changes how you view the
person based on the color of their tech because you know if they have an iPhone or not
-Group messages were always so frustrating for non-iPhone users

-Skeptical about getting iPhone 5 because who knows what the next big thing would
come out

-Blackberry gave her simpler communication, but iPhone gave her Snap chat, which was
a quicker way to know what people are up to