BlackBerry hopes Q10 ‘sell out’ will have ‘halo effect’ on brand

BlackBerry’s first keyboard smartphone on its new BB10 software, the Q10, became Selfridges’ fastest-ever selling technology product this weekend, which the Canadian phone manufacturer believes will create a ‘halo effect’ on its other products.

BlackBerry Q10 Lily Cole
Model Lily Cole at the BlackBerry Q10 launch at Selfridges

Initial stock of the £580 Q10 – which launched exclusively at Selfridges’ London, Birmingham and Manchester stores on Friday (26 April) – sold out within two hours and the device’s pre-order page “exceeded all expectations” with more than 30,000 views within the first two days of the collaboration announcement, BlackBerry said in a statement. The company also announced on Friday that law firm Clifford Chance alone had ordered 1,600 Q10 and Z10 units.

Speaking to Marketing Week on the Q10’s launch date, BlackBerry’s UK managing director Rob Orr said the company wants to ensure the “strength and interest” for a physical keyboard will have a “good halo effect” on the touchscreen Z10 device, which launched earlier this year.

He said the company will look at online data and do store exit surveys with its research parter GfK to test whether the hypothesis around the Q10 also translating to Z10 purchases and interest is correct.

The strong early sales performance for the Q10 came in spite of relatively little above the line advertising spend to announce the arrival of the device.

Orr said while there will be more activity on the way, the Z10 and BB10 “Keep Moving” launch campaign starring its brand ambassadors Alicia Keys, Robert Rodriguez and Neil Gaiman has already created a strong level of awareness for the Q10 device.

He added: “There’s already a lot of pent up demand, advocacy and awareness in the system for the physical keyboard, which gives us a very clear differentiator in a crowded space. With the Z10 we achieved our objective to maintain the third spot [in the smartphone market] and success for us is holding on to that number three spot – I don’t break out any other numbers.”

The Keep Moving campaign will change gear shortly to focus on the Q10, although Orr refused to be drawn on examples of what changes BlackBerry will make.

He said: “Obviously we will rotate hard around Q10 and make sure we are cutting through and that our share of voice is good and that we are visible in the key out of home and media sites to enhance our presence.”

Early technology journalist reviews for the Q10 – the majority of which have been positive towards the device – will translate into positive sentiment towards the brand, Orr said.

He added: “What you also have to remember is [BlackBerry has] a loyal base of customers of people who know how to use a BlackBerry: 95 per cent of the FTSE 100 know how to use it, half of the police force, government, consumers from all segments and demographics. [BlackBerry has] set of things it can leverage to say BlackBerry is different, it’s not someone else’s software, it’s BlackBerry. BlackBerry has reinvented and redesigned and has done an incredible job on the Q10 and those reviews will translate into positive sell throughout.”

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February BlackBerry’s vice president of product and channel marketing Rory O’Neill said the company was to step up its “real time marketing” strategy to base its advertising and digital efforts around live conversations and analytics.

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