The iCult has done a magnificent job of creating iCulture - RIM had this once, but it lost market share when it became a slacker. Now that it got back in the boat after falling out and almost drowning, its having problems recouping its foothold.
Brand loyalty is a funny thing, we 'adopt', latch on to and defend our favorite products as if we owned the company. They become part of our own identity if marketers have done their job well and appealed to our emotions, as well as our wants and needs - and it doesn't matter what the product is - tools, vehicles, appliances, food, electronics, or in this case a mobile device.
Those highly loyal to other brands will be naysayers regardless of objective reality:
No, these sneakers are better because they are made by XYZ.
My ABC TV lasted 15 years, I would never buy any other brand.
JKL understands what I want, why waste my money on something else?
Regarding today's reporting that BlackBerry 10 is not a hit; stock nosedives 26%and Research In Motion's ability to win, float, or lose, there are two different issues that concern me.
One is the device itself; after a lot of research and testing of devices I decided to go with the Z10 - simply nothing compared when I held it in my hands and operated it and over 20 other competitor devices. As a consumer, I'm interested in highly reliable communication, productivity and social media capability and apps, not Zelda. This device got a 9 out of 10 on my personal rating scale (9 only because of the unavailability of Skype which has now been addressed with the upcoming OS update, inability to re-size photos, and a couple of other unavailable apps I did find suitable alternatives for).
I'm very satisfied with my user experience - though I'm chomping at the bit for Verizon Wireless to release the new OS update that will enable even more functionality. I don't think they schmooze carriers enough.
Arriving late to the party can have consequences
The other concerning issue is the company. There have been obvious problems in leadership, innovation, R&D and strategic marketing. Yet, whether RIM is able to truly rebound, remain solvent and viable, or ends up being acquired, is rather immaterial to me as a consumer. Though shareholders, employees and the Canadian government may feel differently than I do as a consumer, I am not as brand loyal as much as I just want a product that I like and can depend on.
I'm disappointed to find that PlayBook will not receive an update to BlackBerry 10 and will write to the company today to voice my concern over continued updates and support.
I like the device.
I hope RIM has learned from hard lessons in sufficient time to apply the learning and is willing to to do what it takes to rally brand advocates and convert new consumers. Alicia Keys surely didn't come cheap as the face of BlackBerry 10 - but the verdict on whether that marketing strategy is strategic enough is still out with the jury.