Does Blackberry’s Brand Personality ‘Fit’ With Cool NYC DJ’s (The Martinez Brothers)?

By 3rd February 2012blog

Brands use celebrities to embody their brand.   The celebrities help bring the brand to life.  They make it less abstract and more human and this helps us relate to the brand.

The name of the game is for the target market to like the brand because they identify with the celebrities being associated with the brand.  People do things with brands and so by using products that are associated with the celebrity they’re  indicating who they are or more frequently who they aspire to be. This is all to do with Self Congruity Theory (ZZzzz). Fit between brand personality and celebrity personality is key if this is going to work.  They need to be in sync….

Blackberry has just launched a new campaign with up and coming NYC house dj’s the Martinez Brothers.  To their credit they’ve created an interesting brand story.


Blackberry is a corporation. It makes phones that are good for messaging.  Primary brand association = Messaging. They’ve tried to stretch this capability beyond the B2B marketing into the B2C/youth market via BBM and reposition through various brand marketing campaigns.

The Martinez Brothers are the new kids on the dj scene block. New Master’s at Work of the club scene if you will. They are all about mixing underground house music. Primary association = Cool house music deejays.

Blackberry has tried to associate its brand with the Martinez Brothers so it can siphon some coolness from their brand equity.

We think they’ve got it wrong. The brand associations don’t fit.

What do you think about our views ? Please share your views in the in the comment box below.

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  • div says:

    To some extent this move is meaningful to the Brand as previously BB was associating itself to corporate users but today with the launch of BBM it has a wide customer base which includes youth. So i believe this step will jazz up the Brand image just like Sony ericsson

  • Hi and thanks for your comments. Yes, in many respects I agree with you. I can see what they’re trying to do in terms of aligning the brand with BBM and that target market. I just wonder if you can target two such different markets (corporate messaging and youth messaging) with essentially the same devices…..Will the young cool kid that’s into house music really want to use the same phone as their corporate Dad? Time will tell…

  • bbajoke says:

    There is no reason to ever have a dj voice his or her opinion on your marketing techniques. This is a bad bold move for blackberry who will be out of the market soon enough. I don’t know one person who likes their blackberry or who is looking to buy a new one. there is no longer an upside to buy a blackberry the androids took over any low end market for people who cant afford iphones.

    • thanks for the post. I agree that the future is looking bleak for BlackBerry. In many ways partnering with the Martinez Brothers felt like a desperate attempt to be cool. They’re tried to stretch their brand too far.

  • thanks for the comment “bbajoke”. I tend to agree with you….it seems like desperation on BB’s part bringing the Martinez Brother’s in. They’re trying to be cool when they’re not. They’re corporate. I think there brand positioning is confused. Conversely Apple is for the creatives – not so much the corporates. Sure some corporate employees have iPhones but that’s not the primary target market. Clear brand positioning and consistent execution.

  • Very interesting to see how RIM are now refocusing on B2B / their enterprise business:

    At least they have the courage to realise they’ve stretched their brand too far and are now looking to focus on their core competence. Our concern is that other brands have moved into that space now. It could be hard for RIM claw back credibility and customers. Time will tell.

  • J.H says:

    Hi , interesting but I think you are in the wrong and Blackberry is maybe in the right. I don’t know how Blackberry is right now in the USA, but if we look here in the UK and Europe: Blackberry is still hugely popular. They still have around 80 millions users worldwide…a little bit more than NOKIA…
    BBM is a very important part for the Blackberry community. And yes iphone 4S, Iphone 5, Galaxy SIII are very popular, Blackberry is still a very interesting option if you are heavily involved in social media, emails and need to communicate fast with your contact (BBM). In fact, emails on Blackberry are still much better than on the others platform. I had IOS (I am bored with it), Android (don’t really like it), Windows Phone (lovely and snappy but sometimes it take twice the time to do one simple thing), so I am back to Blackberry. I think there 2 types of customer: If you want a phone that is perfect for emails/messaging and have a good web browser for light browsing, and if you make a lot of phone call, Blackberry is perfect. If you need a media/tablet device with the ability of making phone calls: Iphone 5, or Android is the way to go. Personally I have a tablet, and I dedicate all my media/browsing time on the table (Ipad and Playbook) when I am at home. So I think that the Martinez Brothers are doing good to the brand. I am on my 30’s and I am an online entrepreneur and I indentify myself more to the cool Martinez Brothers than to SIRI advert for Iphone (for exemple!).

    • Hi,

      Thanks for your comment. I agree with everything you’ve said. For email it’s hard to beat BlackBerry. However, for the most part Blackberry’s core target market was (is?) corporates / business executives that need quick (push mail) on the go. As you say other phones just can’t compete with regards to that functionality.

      My view is that BlackBerry’s brand positioning and essence has become a little confused (not helped by product / server side problems). This has, without doubt, adversely affected brand perception, market share and share valuation. If BlackBerry is a cool, youth brand the Martinez Brothers are on the mark in terms of brand personality. However, it’s unlikely the business executive tapping away mails to Asia on the way to work and the US on the way home is going to identify with young, cool NYC house music dj’s. They won’t want to be associated with that. Similarly, the majority of people that identify with the Martinez Brothers won’t want to be associated with the business market. It’s just not cool enough. This is why I feel BlackBerry has lost it’s focus and their performance has suffered as a result. Interestingly, they’ve started to go back to their core i.e. B2B enterprise email and devices built around that. My suspicion is performance will pick up.

      Once again, thanks for your comments. Insightful. keep in touch.

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