Can Blackberry restore their reputation after a series of disasters?

If, like me, you rely on your Blackberry phone for business communications, the last couple of days will have been troublesome to say the least.

Blackberry users across the world have experienced a failure of services that have prevented users from receiving emails or instant messages.

But the faceless manner in which RIM, the company who makes Blackberry, has communicated with its users underlines why the company is continuing to struggle where once it was ascendent.

Statements have been issued littered with words such as "failover" which means nothing to the man on the street, while no individual has been made available to the media to provide any reassurance to Blackberry users. 

There has been no real apology for the disruption caused, no continuing updates to reassure users that the problem is being dealt with.

Looking at the UK Blackberry website, there was not mention of the technical problems on their front page, a shocking lack of communication from a company that exists to communicate.

It all gives the impression of arrogance.

When Middle Eastern governments challenged RIM over the security of its BBM messaging service recently, it took a hit, but one it seemed to cope with despite the continuing anxiety over potential national security issues.

Politicians and media even blamed Blackberry for assisting the London rioters who trashed much of the city, thanks to the security in its BBM service.

There's an interview from one of the directors of RIM from a few months ago, where he says "It's an iconic product, used by millions of people around the world from businessmen to teenagers. We've been singled out because we're so successful around the world."

Sadly, that misses the point and suggests nothing but disdain for anyone who dares criticise the Blackberry brand, an absolute disaster from a communications point of view.

When it's working, you can make calls on a Blackberry, receive real-time emails and manage your business almost as easily as if you were in the office.

But RIM has suffered a further blow this year from which it will be difficult to recover.

The Playbook, seen as a direct, business-like competitor to the iPad, has struggled for sales and not impressed users, particularly with its lack of email services for which the Blackberry is so celebrated.

Colleagues of mine have been disappointed with it and while I have hoped that any teething troubles would be ironed out, the delays have simply continued to knock confidence in the product by even the sternest of supporters like me.

Last week Steve Jobs died and left behind a legacy at Apple which will see him revered as a poineer in the world of technology.

He may not have been perfect and his products are not without their challenges, but he fought passionately to make Apple products the iconic must-haves for consumers.

I've always been passionate about the virtues of the Blackberry and don't have time for the gimmicks on the iPhone, nor the problems it has making phone calls, which to me is part of the raison d'être of a phone.

But while Apple appears to strive to push the boundaries of technology and the user experience, RIM gives the impression that it has sat on its laurels and been caught out by the advances that threaten to see its products slip behind Apple and Android services.

How can RIM restore its reputation?

If I was advising them, I would suggest that they identify one individual to be the face of the brand, someone who people can warm to, identify with and have confidence in.

That person, not a spokesman per se but a senior figure in the mould of Jobs at Apple, would front up not only to launch new products (such as the Bold Touch which is entering the market) but also the challenges as and when they arrive.

Only by sympathising with its users and communicating with them openly rather than through anonymous, jargon-laden statements will RIM have a chance of battling back.

There have been many 'iconic products' throughout history.

Some stand the test of time while others get left behind.

RIM has some Bold choices to make if it is to regain the confidence and loyalty of even its greatest supporters. Such as me.