Don't believe the hype - why brand arrogance can destroy reputation

A report today in the Wall Street Journal suggests that Blackberry is planning to get rid of up to 40% of its staff.

A decade is an eternity in technology but it seems like only yesterday when no self-respecting businessman would be seen without a Blackberry phone, so essential had they become to keeping in touch with the office and the constant stream of emails. 

Of course, other companies, most notably Apple and then Google via the Android platform soon caught up and offered far more sophisticated devices that gave consumers the best of business and pleasure.

And Blackberry brought out the badly thought-out Playbook which simply didn't work, let alone capture the imagination of purchasers.

Perhaps the biggest problem for Blackberry , though, was to rest on their laurels, to believe that because of their dominance, they would retain market share without significant development.

An interview by CEO Mike Lazaridis with the BBC typifies that complacency, refusing to discuss or recognise issues that would concern their users. 

The interview did no end of damage to Blackberry and set it on the road from dominance to the periphery it finds itself in now. 

There are plenty of lessons of good and bad communications, of course.

David Beckham is not the most gifted footballer in the world, but he has always appeared humble, dedicated and professional even when faced by media storms about being sent off in the World Cup or about his private life.

It is why his career has endured and why he has been a marketers' dream. 

At Calacus, we always remind our clients that while there are times where you want to shout about your activities from the rooftops, remaining humble will almost always give a good impression to your audiences.

The Beatles, you may recall, the biggest pop group of theirs or perhaps any generation, created a storm when John Lennon claimed that they were "more popular than Jesus".

The Beatles' records were publicly destroyed, press conferences were cancelled and threats were made in the U.S. and beyond, with demonstrations held and their records banned from radio stations.

The Beatles of course, recovered, but they had great records to fall back on. 

As Blackberry have found out, not everyone has that opportunity and among all their poor strategic decisions, proclaiming popularity and iconic status - believing their own hype - has played a huge part in the downfall of Blackberry as a major communications brand.