Research In Motion, makers of the ubiquitous Blackberry, just announced a layoff of some 2,000 workers. That's more than 10 percent of the total workforce. It's also an indication the organization has rested on its laurels far too long.
RIM's BB is being beaten to the virtual punch by Apple's iPhone and Google's Android. And, while the once high-flying RIM says it's shipped a brand new BB platform with all sorts of cool bells and whistles as well as a version of the iPad, customers aren't taking the bait.
RIM is just the latest MySpace, Second Life or Pets.com. Or, if you prefer time traveling to a distant era, RIM may end up being this generation's Smith-Corona (once one of the world's leading manufacturers of typewriters that simply couldn't adapt to the computer revolution).
I find it ironic that companies who initiate change often fall prey to it. Take Yahoo, please. Fifteen years ago, Yahoo was a dotcom pioneer at the absolute forefront of online search. Today, they're an afterthought, having lost the entire market to a company whose name has become a verb: Google.
PR firms that resist changing their mojo risk facing the same fate as RIM.
I know quite a few who remain firmly entrenched in the service model of the 1990s, providing little more than media by the pound.
These risk-averse agencies believe clients will always pay for a big hit in the Times or Journal. Perhaps. But, fleet-footed firms are anticipating change and following the conversation, wherever it may lead. They're also finding new and different ways to earn a seat at the proverbial C-suite table. It's no longer just enough to be masters of crisis communications and social media protocols. Smart PR firms also understand they can play a critical, and desperately needed, role in helping to close the gaps between what an organization promises and what the end user experiences (Comcast is the classic example).
As a Blackberry user of long-standing, I'm hoping the company can pull a rabbit out of the hat. But, based upon the fact that the new platform is being ignored and the current system is antiquated, I fear the handwriting may already be on the wall. If so, RIM will R.I.P. right alongside other movers and shakers of past eras.
The corporate graveyard is littered with the names of countless organizations that all died of the same disease: complacency.