A Key Player in BlackBerry’s Revamp

(courtesy of blackberry.com)

(courtesy of blackberry.com)

This January, BlackBerry, the Canadian company formerly known as Research in Motion, held a press conference to announce the complete re-branding of the company.

In addition to introducing their newest product, the BlackBerry Z10, they introduced their new global creative director: Alicia Keys!

Keys joins a long list of celebrities taking on in-house creative director roles with companies including Lady Gaga with Polaroid, Will.i.am with Intel and more recently, Justin Timberlake and Bud Light Platinum.

So what will be her first project as global creative director?

The launch of her Keep Moving campaign entitled, ‘Your City, Your Video by Alicia Keys and You,’ which aligns with the kick-off of her Set the World on Fire Tour.

The project will call for fans, or as she affectionately calls them ‘Fam,’ to send in pictures they believe truly represent who they are or the city they live in. Each city will have its own video encompassed of these pictures that will play on stage during the concert in their respective cities.

Pretty cool, right?

Let’s see why this is a step in the right direction for BlackBerry and Keys:

  • We Create the Content: An essential part of using social media effectively is creating content that people want to share.The only thing better is allowing the audience to create it themselves.Just ask Coca-Cola.This isn’t a new concept for Keys seeing as though her music video for New Day (see below) was comprised of fan pictures. It makes the public and fans feel a sense of ownership and control over the content, which leads to my next point…

  • Inclusion: It may be different for everyone, but I always feel good when I can be a part of something that I know will be big and rewarding.Especially if the final result will be seen by hundreds of other audience members. By sending in your own pictures, not only do you technically become a part of a world tour production, but it gives you a sense of…
  • Pride: Who doesn’t want a chance to share the hidden wonders of their hometown or state? (Go #PureMichigan!) Giving fans a chance to really show pride in who they are and where they come from is an awesome concept and a feel good type of project. It genuinely creates a high level of…
  • Engagement: One of the coolest things about this project is the multiple levels of engagement. You have Keys and her fans connecting on a more personal and unique level.In a way, this project gives Keys a way to really get to know who her fans are and the communities they come from. Then you have the audience engaging with BlackBerry.Keys’ fans are going to visit BlackBerry’s hub to submit pictures or their YouTube channel to watch videos because they want to follow her.Now, it’s up to BlackBerry to utilize this opportunity to talk with the audience because it’s only successful when the communication is a two-way street.Lastly, fans engaging with other fans. It can be as easy as connecting with the fan next to you about unique or shared memories that come from seeing ‘your video.’

In addition to the “Your City, Your Video” project, Keys’ Keep Moving campaign also includes regular YouTube videos that give fans a behind-the-scenes look at her life on tour. This is great for fans who want that ‘exclusive’ content. It also keeps them engaged with BlackBerry’s content even when Alicia’s not touring in their city.

Will this project and the addition of a fresh, young face such as Alicia solve all of the brand’s problems?

No, but you know what? I took more interest in a brand that I normally wouldn’t have because I saw a familiar face.

It’s going to take more than one project to convert Android or iPhone users, but I believe with the new audience Alicia is attracting, BlackBerry’s got a nice foundation to rebuild upon.

Cherese Colston

6 responses to “A Key Player in BlackBerry’s Revamp

  1. Wow Cherese, this was a great read. I was unaware that Alicia Keys was playing such an important role in their re-launch. These are great strategies and like you, I am now paying closer attention to Blackberry where I wouldn’t have before.

  2. My intro. to PR class was just talking today about how brands have to drop the “I, I, I” and “Me, me, me” attitude and be about their audience and the people they are trying to reach. Having the audience participate by sending in pictures that represent them is a great way for Blackberry to make their relaunch about the people who would be using the product instead of about the brand getting back on top. Definitely a good move by Blackberry, interested to see how it will play out!

  3. Good article! You have to wonder though if these celebrities are qualified for these jobs they are taking on or if they are receiving help. I do believe that by attaching a familiar face people will take more of an interest in a brand but how much responsibility is placed on them?

  4. In your opinion, how is Blackberry’s new image more successful than the Android or iPhone? In addition, how might Blackberry’s new image be less successful than the Android or iPhone? What else do you believe Blackberry needs to do in order to get Android and iPhone customers to switch to Blackberry? Do you think that Alicia Keys was the right celebrity for Blackberry to pick, or should Blackberry have chosen someone else?

    It is an interesting move, but I’m not sure that this is enough for Blackberry to build more clientele. In fact, I believe Blackberry would have more success if bloggers talked about reasons why they love Blackberry. As a customer, I want to hear opinions on the product from people who have the same concerns that I do. However, I definitely think that more bloggers will be writing about Blackberry, and it should be interesting to see how many more phones Blackberry sells after the revamp compared to the number of phones that were sold before the revamp.

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