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How Walmart May Have Saved BlackBerry
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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Say what you will about Walmart, and many of you have, but there is a reason it is the leading company in the world. They understand what people want — to keep up with the Joneses and not have their bills, because that part sucks. The Bentonville-based behemoth has experienced its fair share of #PRFails, but they know how to stay "King of the Mountain" without saying much. And then one day, a couple of weeks ago, they did something that put the business world on notice — they fought back!

In the redline edit heard 'round the world, Walmart (specifically, VP of Corporate Communications David "I got brass ones that were not bought on sale" Tovar) called out The New York Times for an op-ed. While that was genius and about the bravest thing the company has done in decades for its image, there is another company that was inspired by that act. 

In fact, it's gambling its very existence on it. Meet BlackBerry's bold move (yes, that BlackBerry) Fact Check

According to TechHive, BlackBerry has a big, fat dinosaur egg for market share in the United States. Zero. Zilch. Zippo. Nada. To wit, new CEO John Chen had to think of something to help the beleaguered brand. And then Walmart sent its parting shot. To wit, an epiphany was born — call out everyone for bullsh! Specifically, media folks that have nothing good to say about BlackBerry. Based on this theory, all that "Speak softly and carry a big stick" Teddy Roosevelt crap is for the birds. Chen decided he would start swinging the thing like Mickey Mantle at editorial board meetings. 

The BlackBerry Fact Check Portal is "BlackBerry's best offense to present the facts." The blog post unveiling the idea says the following: 

Today we are launching the BlackBerry Fact Check Portal, a place for us to hold our competitors accountable for what they say, when what they say is wrong. We’ll provide evidence that BlackBerry continues to be a leader in mobile, and we’ll expose “smoke and mirrors” marketing tactics by competitors. This Portal will be your one-stop reference for all things #BBFactCheck. We’ll also bring you content that you can’t find anywhere else and highlight the news, insights and stats that you can’t miss. From mobility management to messaging, devices to security, we will make sure that you get the real story.

Imagine Snopes.com and make it much more proactive, and possibly used to snub your nose at the haters out there. Its corporate blog is full of good news reports about BlackBerry (go figure) and requests for other "works of fiction" from bloggers or writers anywhere. Is this the new "presenting the facts" in this multimedia age? People get information in this drive-thru world of microwavable thoughts and jerk-reactionary doublespeak via the Internet, which can make it difficult to combat. Many believe what they read; few fight that same information. Walmart did. BlackBerry is too. 

And if this works, those two better go on tour with Public Enemy, because the theme sounding clear to America is "Fight the Power!

   

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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