BlackBerry brand survives riots association

Stephan Shakespeare
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LAST week saw one story dominate the news and although the bulk of the focus was on the rioters, the areas and buildings being looted, the police and the politicians the one brand that was continually being talked about was BlackBerry.

It seemed that BlackBerry Messenger was the communication method of choice for the rioters, with the free service allowing them to plan among each other without police tracking what they were saying.

On YouGov’s BrandIndex there was an immediate impact on the brand buzz, with a drop from +10 last Monday to -8 by Thursday.

It dropped from sixth (trailing behind Apple iPhone, iPad, Samsung, HTC and Android) to last of the 25 mobile phone and PDA brands as the public heard negative news about the phone.

It has now recovered some of the ground and is back up to -2 and 21st place.

Interestingly there was no discernible impact on the brand owner, Research In Motion, suggesting that it is very much the brand not the company that is known in the UK.

So BlackBerry buzz saw a steep drop but encouragingly for the firm there was little real decline in its Index (a composite score of six key measures – Impression, Quality, Value, Reputation, Satisfaction and Recommendation) with a +22 score on Monday that was still as high as +20 by the end of the week and remains there this week.

It looks like this was a case of people hearing about a brand being associated with something negative and registering that, but the negative news not actually impacting on how they perceived the brand.

So for BlackBerry’s owner it seems that there was not much harm done from its association with the rioters.

Stephan Shakespeare is chief executive of YouGov