RIM to rename itself BlackBerry, hoping for fresh start

NEW YORK Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:30pm IST

Stocks

   

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Research In Motion LtdRIM.TO RIMM.O is changing its name to BlackBerry, the company announced on Wednesday, in move to refresh its tarnished image as it begins marketing a reengineered line of BlackBerry 10 smartphones.

The announcement, made by Chief Executive Thorsten Heins as the company formally launched the BlackBerry 10, signals the company's hopes for a streamlined identity as it embarks on a make-or-break drive to regain lost ground in the smartphone market it once dominated.

"BlackBerry is how we're known pretty much everywhere across the world other than North America, so we have an iconic global brand and when you have such a powerful brand, you want to make it central," said Frank Boulben, BlackBerry's chief marketing officer, in an interview.

The switch underscores the close attention the company is paying to marketing as it launches a product considered crucial to its survival. In the past, it was roundly criticized for botching the launch of the PlayBook tablet and other devices.

RIM's aging line-up of devices has competed poorly in recent years against the likes of Apple Inc's(AAPL.O) iPhone and Samsung's wide array of Galaxy devices.

As the company counters with its new line, the name change will allow it to leverage the value of the BlackBerry brand - still a powerful asset in spite of RIM's fall from grace.

"Previously we had Research In Motion, BlackBerry, Bold, Curve, Torch, PlayBook - and that dilutes the BlackBerry brand, which is a fantastic asset," Boulben said. "Moving to a branded house model allows us to focus our marketing on one name only."

That could be crucial for the company, which has undergone a management overhaul changes and a major restructuring, leading up to the launch of its re-engineered line of devices on Wednesday.

"We thought now was the perfect time to accompany that real change with symbolic change," said Boulben, adding that RIM will change its Nasdaq ticker to "BBRY" and its Toronto Stock Exchange ticker symbol to "BB" in a matter of days.

The company will undergo a legal name change after its shareholders pass a resolution to that effect later this year, said a spokeswoman. Until then the company will do business as BlackBerry.

Boulben said the company would have a focused marketing push behind the revamped smartphones - a stylish touch-screen device and a more traditional physical keyboard device that many of its die-hard fans adore.

In keeping with its branding strategy, the new devices will also follow a simple naming structure, said Boulben.

"We want our employees to say, 'I work for BlackBerry.' Our customers to say, 'I own a BlackBerry.' Our shareholders to say, 'I own BlackBerry stock,'" said Boulben. "We want to become what I'd call a branded house versus a house of brands."

(Editing by Frank McGurty; and Peter Galloway)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Global Growth

Global Growth

IMF cuts outlook, warns of stagnation risk in rich nations  Full Article 

Waning Enthusiasm

Waning Enthusiasm

Markets' post-election enthusiasm lost on consumers.  Full Article 

Monsoon Revives

Monsoon Revives

Monsoon revival keeps rain above average   Full Article 

Banking Sector

Banking Sector

Banks not allowed to trade in bonds for infra lending - RBI.  Full Article 

Just Not Enough

Just Not Enough

Amazon's smartphone fails to kindle a "Fire" among reviewers.  Full Article 

Rising Market Value

Rising Market Value

Facebook goes express to mega-cap status  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage