In the classic tome, The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, authors Al and Laura Ries state: “PR builds brands. Advertising sustains them.” So when Research In Motion (RIM), the maker of BlackBerry, ran a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal recently, claiming it built its business on word-of-mouth marketing, it wasn’t that surprising — at least to one new media thinker.
“RIM is beyond the innovator and early adopter stages,” explains Joe Jaffe, president and chief interruptor of Crayon, a “new marketing” agency. “They’re in early majority and approaching critical mass, and they need other forms of marketing to sustain their growth.”
The push e-mail model that sustained BlackBerry isn’t unique anymore, he explains. So what is RIM doing to move ahead? The answer: advertising. The ad, Jaffe claims, is a sign that RIM is growing up. “At the end of the day, there’s a role for advertising. The role is to sustain the growth put in place by successful word-of-mouth.”