In December of 2012, I received an email from BlackBerry with an offer for a special opportunity. BlackBerry did not yet reveal the opportunity, but I agreed to the offer. Being the huge BlackBerry fan that I am, I was eager to see what they were offering me. After a couple weeks of suspense, I received another email informing me that the company wanted me to join their Elite program of super fans. Of course, I accepted the offer. This is the story of my short time as a member of BlackBerry Elite.
Before I get into the meat of my story, allow me some exposition. I’ve been a BlackBerry user for somewhere around six years. My first device was a Pearl 8100 that I bought on a whim because the phone I originally wanted was more expensive than the Pearl. I still consider it the best impulse buy of my life. Since then I’ve had the 8100, two 9700s, one 9900, a PlayBook, and now my Z10. At one point my whole family used BlackBerry smartphones because of my influence, and all my friends know how passionate I am about the device and the company. I even did some freelance writing for Examiner.com, before joinging N4BB, and wrote all about BlackBerry.
BlackBerry Elite is an exclusive group of BlackBerry super fans who have shown their brand loyalty in social media and other areas. They wanted to make sure that the biggest BlackBerry fans were “in the know,” and gave them first access to all things BlackBerry, including test driving new products, apps, and services, and exclusive invitations to BlackBerry events and activities.
Once I accepted my invitation to join BlackBerry Elite, I was invited to attend the huge BlackBerry 10 launch event that took place on January 30th of this year in NYC. I was beyond elated for several reasons, one being the promised VIP treatment as a member of the Elite team.
The time came for me to board the plane to New York City and I met up with another member of BlackBerry Elite who happened to live in my city. He was one of the many great friends that I made while in The Big Apple for those three days. After landing and getting settled in to my hotel in the middle of Manhattan, I met up with other members of Elite at a great pizza place and got to know them a little better.
The next day was the launch event, and I had a blast. VIP treatment was promised and VIP treatment was given. All the members of BlackBerry Elite received an exclusive Z10 with a special battery back that had the Elite logo stamped on it. We all took a tour of some of the best things to see in New York. The night ended with a special meet up with BlackBerry CEO, Thorstein Heins, and CMO Frank Boulben, as well as access to the after party that was opened to a select few contest winners. I was really starting to enjoy this whole VIP thing.
After getting back home, I kept in contact with all the other Elite members and various other people that I met. I received contact from my Elite representatives who works with BlackBerry, and occasionally got a little care package in the mail that reminded me that I was truly VIP.
At some point, I reached out to Lucas here at N4BB and praised him for the site that has always been my favorite when it comes to BlackBerry news and he offered me the chance to join the team as a contributor. Again, I gladly accepted. I was sitting pretty as a member of BlackBerry Elite and a writer for one of my favorite tech sites on the web. BlackBerry World was just around the corner and I was eagerly anticipating more VIP treatment from the company I loved to represent.
Unfortunately, I’m no longer a member of BlackBerry Elite because it conflicts with my work here on N4BB. I took the news pretty badly, but enough time has passed to where I can talk about it without bursting into tears.
It’s a comfort to know that BlackBerry has taken such great lengths to show people what it means to be a super fan of their products. Being a member of BlackBerry Elite was a treat and a privilege that I won’t soon forget, and it shows that the company is not pulling any punches when it comes to guerrilla marketing and the building of brand loyalty. I can assure you that the other members of the Elite program will continue to be loyal to the brand for many years to come. Knowing BlackBerry like I do, they will most definitely bring along a few new inspiring fans for the ride.