BlackBerry Brand Perception on the Rise: BrandIndex

Consumers are hearing positive things about BlackBerry. Its "Buzz" score has been rising, says BrandIndex, as the iPhone's is on the decline.

BlackBerry, with its Jan. 30 introduction of the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone and BlackBerry 10 mobile platform, has been looking to make a new name for itself—aside from its official name change from Research In Motion to BlackBerry. According to new data from BrandIndex, the Canadian phone maker's efforts are working.

BlackBerry is currently enjoying its best U.S. consumer perception score since September 2011, BrandIndex reported Feb. 13. The research company interviews 5,000 people each weekday, and most recently asked them whether they'd heard anything about the BlackBerry brand in the last two weeks and whether it was positive or negative. "Buzz" scores then range from -100 to 100, with 0 being a perfectly neutral score.

After spending most of the last 14 months with a negative score, BlackBerry's Buzz score, from December through mid-January, BrandIndex reported, has been around a 7.

In addition to its product introduction, BlackBerry may have boosted the brand's appeal with its naming of Grammy-award-winning singer-songwriter Alicia Keys as its new global creative director. BlackBerry also ran a commercial during the Super Bowl that was voted, on the NFL Website, the best commercial of the third quarter.

"We wanted to let people know that BlackBerry is back, and that BlackBerry 10 is worth checking out," BlackBerry Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben said in a Feb. 3 statement about the commercial.

As the BlackBerry image has been on the rise, perceptions of Apple’s iPhone have been falling.

The iPhone brand peaked Oct. 1, 2012, with the introduction of the iPhone 5 and a Buzz score of 38. Since then, its score has slid. It fell to 27 in mid-January and 17 at the end of the month—which put it just one point ahead of Samsung's rising Galaxy brand, which started January with a Buzz score of 2.

Loyalty rates, said BrandIndex, have been in sync with Buzz scores.

"When asked what phone they were likely to purchase within the next six months, 18 percent of BlackBerry owners expected to purchase another BlackBerry in the quarter April-June 2012, rising to 43 percent in Jan.-March 2013," the firm reported.

"Loyalty for iPhone owners dropped from 92 percent to 85 percent over the same period," it added, "while Galaxy's improved from 46 percent to 53 percent."

BlackBerry's Boulben has told eWEEK that the Super Bowl ad was the second part of a three-part plan to raise awareness of—and affection for—the company's new BlackBerry 10 smartphones. (A second phone, the Q10, will arrive several weeks behind the Z10, which is expected to launch in the United States in mid-March.)

After a process of showing off the Z10 to public influencers—CIOs, developers, celebrities and musicians—BlackBerry plans to do a version of the same via videos. Consumers will soon be pointed to YouTube videos that show off all that the new phones can do. (That list is so long, BlackBerry suggested in its Super Bowl ad, that it instead showed the few things the phone can't do—like extinguish a fire, should a user burst into flames.)

An upcoming "Keep Moving" campaign will also feature videos of celebrities, including Keys, director Roberto Rodriguez and writer Neil Gaiman, using the BlackBerry Z10 as they work on projects. Keys has said she'll also use the smartphone to film a short video for every city she visits during her "Girl on Fire" tour.

"I'm very dedicated to [this project]," Keys said Jan. 30. "There's a real synchronicity between me and BlackBerry. It's about how do we function, do we manage as business people [and in our personal lives]. For me, what I will be able to do with BlackBerry is enhance the creative, entertainment and female-driven side of the company."