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17/10/2011 by

Blackberry Gets Crushed

Blackberry are in trouble. Social media is not the cause of it (we’ll get into that), but it has exasperated the problem. So please excuse the lame pun, but take the wider point on board.

October 10th, the problems begin as users start to realise they cannot use BBM, email or the internet. Quite essential elements of a smart phone, one could argue.

This graph from Trendistic (apologies for the link, the embed function is curently not working) shows that the amount of people tweeting about Blackberry is increasing dramatically. Unlikely to be good news….

At this point in time we are still waiting for an explanation. Or apology. And of course BBM, emails and the internet.

On October 11th the problem spreads to South America. More people complain. October 12th sees the US invasion of this problem…at which point RIM (the creators of Blackberry) decide to step forward. Clearly keen to avoid a follow up on Southpark’s ‘Blame Canada’.

The problem is….well no one really cares, but finally Blackberry have owned up to it and apologied. Up until now there was a severe lack of communications from Blackberry.

October 13th takes an interesting turn. Mike Lazaridis publically apologises on the BlackBerry YouTube Channel. It is a frank and open apology in which he clearly outlines next steps, how they look to avoid this problem in the future but without promising people the sky.

Today the news broke that Blackberry will be offering a package of free apps from their app store to all Blackberry users, including the hugely popular music service Shazam.

The graph above shows how quickly the sentiment shifted towards the positive end of the scale again. Of course this does not tell us anything about long term brand equity, veracity of the sentiment or how many long term customers may have abandoned the brand, but it does show BlackBerry are making moves in the right direction.

So what can we learn from this:


– Be open and honest about your problems

– Keep an open line of communications and ensure people are not left in the dark

– Use all available channels and owned media platforms to ensure the message gets out there. Twitter is not just to shout how awesome you are

– Get senior level officials involved publically (and internally) to ensure customers see you understand how serious the situation is


– Ignore people’s complaints and questions

– Leave your owned media channels uninformed and not updated for several days after a major crisis. They are a powerful force to overcome the crisis

Hat tip – Holmes Report and Meltwater Buzz


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Daan Jansonius

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