Keep it real. Keep it simple. Keep it real simple.

BlackBerry vs iPhone presentations

These photos say a lot about the value of keeping your brand messages simple and direct. Yes, this isn’t a perfect product comparison–a better image for the Apple presentation would be for iOS rather than iPhone. The point, however, remains valid–compare the product messaging language shown in each of these slides, by Research In Motion and Apple, respectively:

  • BlackBerry® WebWorks™ & bbUI.js
  • iPhone 4S

Note how RIM, like many companies, feels compelled to slap ®’s and ™’s on on everything, to brand every component, create a breadcrumb of cascading sub-brands, and end with the convoluted gobbledegook of “bbUI.js.” Yes, I know this is for developers, but still, the message gets out to the world that this is a techy, geeky, cold, inhuman environment–not the best message when your products are being killed by the simplicity of Apple. And when creating a long string of nonsense like this, it’s no wonder that typographical mistakes intrude, such as the ampersand that is superscripted like the  ™ it follows. Who really wants to proofread lines like this, let alone read them?

Am I harping on minor details? Perhaps. But my point is that details matter. I’m not claiming that overzealous trademark tagging or botched ampersand sizing is why RIM is laying off workers and delaying phones. But it IS indicative of the kinds of decisions companies make every day that often lead, in total, to a march toward irrelevancy. Look at Apple’s slide by comparison: just the phone’s name, no nonsense, no need to ® and ™ it for this event. This clean message is indicative of Apple’s approach to keeping everything they do as clean and simple as possible. Details matter, because they are the manifestations of what’s going on at deeper levels.

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