RIM Empowers 12 Nigerians Who Speak “BlackBerry”
University students conversant with BlackBerry Messenger service, BlackBerry’s social networking attributes, the entry level Curve 9220 or the high-end Bold 9700, could become BlackBerry Ambassadors.
The fortunate twelve will be studying at any one of four major Nigerian Universities and will become BlackBerry Messengers; committing to preach the benefits of the BlackBerry ecosystem by attending and organizing parties. Wow!
The Message Is That RIM Survives
The ailing universal mobile phone giant (well, they do have over 75 million subscribers) has expanded its presence and popularity in the Emerging Nations by targeting the expanding Nigerian market.
Nigeria is one of the lucrative markets outside North America where the BlackBerry device remains relevant and flourishing; countries with healthy economies such as South Africa, Mexico and Indonesia.
North America Is Not Irrelevant
Long term recovery and survival by Research In Motion remains linked to healthy sales in both the North American and European markets, however those economies, including the USA, cannot be described as anything other than anemic.
Overshadowed by the current industry behemoths (much bigger than a giant) and threatened by commoditization of the smartphone, Research In Motion may conceivably find it pragmatic to withdraw from competition with the iPhone 4S, the Samsung Note or Nokia Windows phone.
Social Networking Invades Commerce
It is in fact the benefits of BlackBerry Messenger as a vehicle for social networking that have fuelled popularity in these emerging economies, where the western application of the phenomena is more associated with the frivolous than the commercial.
In Nigeria only 5% of 100 million mobile phones are smart. Half of that 5% are BlackBerry’s and 97% of those users subscribe to BBM. Migration toward smartphones is incessant and if RIM have learned anything from their past debacles they will nurture that market share.
Differentiation Versus Commoditization
There will come a time (probably soon) when the average consumer cannot appreciate the latest technical advance, when he has access to every app his lifestyle demands and, having protected his exclusive phone inside an ubiquitous rubber sheath no one envies his good design taste.
The business will then become all about service. Who offers the most reliable signal? Whose service offers the most reliable security? Who offers cloud storage?
Addicting The Next Generation
Hence the investment by Research In Motion in twelve young Nigerians who will be incentivized to preach the BlackBerry gospel to their peers; the next generation of trend setters and decision makers in a nation on a continent that benefits from the mobile phone as a commercial, educational and fiscal tool.
While the BlackBerry device may become, indeed is already considered by many, as an anachronism, the BlackBerry Messenger service and BlackBerry Business Solutions may well survive; though possibly as part of a conglomerate as yet unknown.
Onward To The Next Economy
After planting the seeds in Nigeria will RIM survive to reap the crop? Perhaps.
With Nollywood producing Brand flattering movies such as “BlackBerry Babes” it’s refreshing to find the BlackBerry going viral somewhere in the world.
Statistics also confirm that it’s not only the inexpensive Curve 8520 that bears fruit. In markets where the Network Operators do not subsidize the handsets it is perhaps surprising but high end Bold 9900 is highly visible.
Possibly thanks to the zeal of a proselytizing University graduate who speaks “BlackBerry” who sowed the seed.