Shoutdot Social Media Study Finds Blackberry Perilously Positioned In The Consumer Smartphone Market

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In a Shoutdot Social Media report Android emerges as the undisputed Trusted Type with iPhone tracking a close second. BlackBerry failed to generate competitive levels of curiosity and acceptance for the category’s core attributes and faces diminished forward momentum

In a major study released today of more than eight thousand consumer comments analyzed for emotional bias, Android has emerged as the undisputed Trusted Type with iPhone tracking a close second. BlackBerry failed to generate competitive levels of curiosity and acceptance for the category’s core attributes and faces diminished forward momentum

The report , "Smartphone Leaders: A Tumultuous Landscape” uncovers the emotional drivers behind consumer preference of three leading smartphone platforms: Google's Android, Research In Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry and Apple's iPhone.

Shoutdot's unique research methodology recognizes emotional bias at the brand attribute level and detects variance in curiosity and acceptance signals, key indicators of imminent intent-to-buy behavior.

“By studying emotional impulses below the cognitive threshold we are better able to account for consumer choices and isolate contributing factors,” said Shoutdot CEO John MacKinnon. “Our unique approach confirms prevailing retail projections but goes much deeper by revealing the root causes.”

The report offers a fascinating and unprecedented glimpse into the consumer's emotional mind. While other research is focused on mental attitudes, which are in a constant state of flux, Shoutdot has found a clear and compelling voice beneath the noise.

The data show that emotional acceptance of BlackBerry’s native business functions - email and messaging - is all but absent from the consumer mind. Shoutdot believes that the lack of curiosity around these defining attributes suggests decaying emotional momentum and slower near term growth.

“But it's not all bad news for RIM," according to Alan Dean, Shoutdot's President and Chief Research Officer. “They are a brilliant brand with a stellar track record and still have a number of great product assets to work with, if they adjust quickly.”

The emotional data tell us there is way forward - providing RIM focuses on the consumer and not the competition. The loud and clear message is that people LOVE their BlackBerry, just not the same way they love Android and iPhone.

The Shoutdot report finds that consumer smartphones are emotionally defined as “visually engaging entertainment platforms". The devices resonate around recreational impulses for play and escapism, evidenced by high acceptance and curiosity factors for Apps and Visual Engagement attributes.

'Apps' dominate consumer curiosity. For the category leaders, Apps receive twice the acceptance and curiosity as the next core feature, Visual Engagement. Nothing comes even close to Apps, including standard attributes such as GPS, cameras and cost, all of which fade into the background. Not having standard features may prevent a sale, but their presence won't trigger one.

“Emphasizing the wrong attributes causes a misalignment between product and behavioral drivers that fail to meet consumer expectations,” said Dean. “You can’t simply call a car a boat and generate a strong acceptance response. Primary emotional drivers are subtle and operate beneath the surface. Consumers won't always know why they make brand choices. It's based on an intuitive emotional mindset that is informed by experience.”

In "Smartphone Leaders: A Tumultuous Landscape" it is apparent that iPhone will cede market to Android. iPhone is unquestionably a formidable contender and the category founding brand, but will nonetheless be affected by Android’s surging emotional momentum and better approximation of the consumer smartphone Trusted Type. Android’s expansion will in part be at iPhone’s expense.

iPhone can fight back and innovate around category core features. Apple's brand has the right emotional profile with consumers, but lags Android just enough to forfeit new growth opportunities. To overcome Android's lead, Apple needs to give its customers more over-the-top core specs to brag about, and avoid being distracted by features that don't pique curiosity.

Blackberry’s depleted acceptance of its defining profile is an actionable warning sign and an opportunity to correct. RIM's shortest path to success lies in not taking its corporate customer base for granted as it chases the consumer market. BlackBerry's unique strength lies in its work-centric platform where it faces little competition. Making its basic product more interesting to business consumers and students for the right reasons will succeed more than trying to persuade consumers that BlackBerry is a 'funky gadget.'

Android defines the Trusted Type for the category, having the highest Core Attribute Profile (CAP) Scores and the most emotional momentum. Google and its hardware partners have found the right formula and they need to press their advantage. Increased marketing activity to strike while consumer hearts are hot will result in an insurmountable lead and the coveted consumer smartphone crown.

Social media analytics is an emerging research discipline that provides brand owners with direct access to fresh consumer insights. Shoutdot's proprietary Biasphere™ Spiders were deployed to collect recent postings on thousands of English-language websites primarily in North America. Generally speaking, any web site that permits users to post comments, videos, documents and images for the purpose of public sharing is included in the definition of social media. Sites include blogs, forums, and popular social networks such as Twitter, Myspace, LinkedIn, FaceBook, YouTube and Flickr.

About Shoutdot

Shoutdot is a Social Intelligence company that transforms the way enterprises create and promote products with Biasphere™, a breakthrough consumer insights platform that analyzes online social media for intent-to-act signals.

Biasphere™ is a 360° advanced research environment that collects emotion-laden consumer discussion from popular social media sites, then filters and categorizes the content using advanced data mining systems and a proprietary emotional framework.

Shoutdot's patent-pending technology and methodology uniquely reveals how consumers are emotionally invested in key product attributes and can predict real and simulated future brand performance.

For more information visit, e-mail insight(at)shoutdot(dot)com or call (407) 536-9707 in the USA.

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John MacKinnon
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