Where would Blackberry be without women?

Posted: 15/01/2012 in Strategy, Technology
Tags: ,

The world’s 1 billion youth female mobile owners are key to the future of Blackberry. Rather than employing creative agencies to engage this segment, RIM needs to focus on strategies that partner with the key change agents – Disruptive Divas. Increasing female representation in innovation, marketing and RIM’s workforce – not clever, funny or creative advertising campaigns – is key to helping Blackberry stay relevant long term.

Challenging the Technological Patriarchy

The wider challenge for RIM is male hegemony. When women rival males in tech ownership and usage the media label them as “geeks” or “tech obsessed”. When brands involve creative or design agencies they come up with pink phones or, worse still, research about how women want phones to take pictures of babies.

It’s technological patriarchy that has made Google+ stall. According to some sources, 75% of Google+ users are men. Big problem. Why? Because 75%+ of the engineers at Google are men. Google engineers think we want a rival to Facebook but, in reality, the key growth area they’re missing out on is a group of teenage girls using Google+ as video hangouts. If Google were to engage this group they’d find out how to grow the service around a defined beachhead of support.

There is a pervasive myth in the mobile industry that influence lies in the early adopter and creating Earned Media means engaging this segment. This is why Google+ have failed. This myth also threatens to derail Blackberry because creative agency marketing is so often geared towards this segment.

Disruptive Divas aren’t early adopters and that’s why engineers have trouble understanding them. Rather than being early adopters, these change agents are leaders. They are the wider inflection point in change. It’s women who amplified the Arab Spring (starting in Iran). It’s women who were the first to challenge racial segregation in the US. It’s also women who will help Blackberry maintain and grow its non-business market position.

It’s time to change. Lego recently announced it’s intention to build better relationships with the “$1 billion girl”. Starbucks and IBM both recently appointed their first female board members.RIM needs to dump the agencies and partners that confine it to the world view their future lies with early adopter males.

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