RIM no more. Name change to BlackBerry a 'brilliant' move: expert

TORONTO - Research in Motion's attempt to reset its image by changing its name to BlackBerry, the moniker of its globally recognized smartphones, is a "brilliant" move according to one expert.

The Waterloo-based firm made the announcement Wednesday at the highly anticipated unveiling of its latest smartphone, the BlackBerry Z10, which will hit store shelves in Canada next week.

Brand expert Edgar Baum says the name change is a brilliant marketing move and comes at a time when the company desperately needs to reinvent itself, and disassociate from its past.

"What this does is give the company a chance to redefine itself," said Baum, the managing director of Brand Finance Canada.

"From the looks of it, (CEO) Thorsten Heins and his team are communicating a different company... If they continue this trend going forward, there is actually a legitimacy to this corporate name change, and it's not just window dressing."

Baum says it will take some time to see if consumers will buy into the corporate rebranding and view BlackBerry as a new company.

"Maybe it implies that some of the negative associations that the company has built up over the last few years will be shed," he said.

"(Consumers) may come back and give it a try again and that's exactly what BlackBerry needs right now."

Baum does not think the move will cause much confusion among consumers, because the brand BlackBerry has more recognition than its maker, Research In Motion.

"In the general public consciousness at large, it's BlackBerry," he said. "RIM existed in the corporate (board)rooms."

As part of the name change, the company will now trade under BB on the Toronto Stock Exchange and BBRY on Nasdaq beginning Feb. 4. Its corporate website will also be migrated over to www.blackberry.com.

Earlier this month, Brand Finance released its annual list of top 50 most valuable brands in Canada.

According to the firm, the BlackBerry brand came in at number 18, with a worth of $2 billion for this year, down from the No. 10 spot in 2012 with $3.3 billion.

Baum says if BlackBerry wants to climb the list this year, it must improve its revenues by at least 50 per cent to show brand value.