Blackberry Needs a Rick Rubin

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For those of you who don’t know who Rick Rubin is you’ll most likely know many of the artists he has produced over the years. An abbreviated version of list contains Beastie Boys, The Cult, Mick Jagger, Johnny Cash, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Tom Petty, Weezer, Neil Diamond, Jay Z, U2 and most recently Metallica. Rubin claims he has no technical skill and simply knows what he likes and also understands what a band’s/musician’s strengths are.

Rick Rubin helps bands be true to the brand they have created. “Rick helped us get in touch with our path. Until then we had always thought we needed to grow and change and not recreate what we had done.” said James Hetfield of Metallica. When Rubin worked with Neil Diamond he sat Diamond down and listened to all of his best songs to help Diamond reconnect with why people loved his music.

Recently with the introduction of the iPhone, Blackberry has been having a little bit of a brand identity crisis. They have designed a “me to” product and have also launched an application store (just like Apple). They also launched an “aren’t we fun” ad campaign (video below) to answer Apple’s iPhone ad that states the iPhone is great for work. (Can’t find this video any longer on Apples iPhone ad site.)

Blackberry is forgetting where its strengths are and playing a game of me to that they can’t win. They aren’t going to out Apple Apple.

If Rick Rubin were a marketer he would sit down, talk to them about their rabid fan base (lovers of the crackberry) and help them figure out how to build on what they are. Given the Internet and how its used today he would also  recommend they partner with their community to help refine any innovation they come up with.

Not sure if RIM has Rick Rubin’s number and it not they may want to see if he’d be willing to try something new.

By Michael Myers

I'm an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently focused on artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, biking, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive and/or surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and the art that tattooing has evolved into.

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