The convergence of work & play

On the rapid road of mobile technology, it was only a relatively short time ago in business communications, when replying to practically any e-missive an auto sign off, “sent from my BlackBerry” carried timely cache.
BlackBerry held the brand mantle of work.  The tagged reply implied, “I am busily rushing between important meetings and in transit, always on the go, oh and BTW, I live and breathe work 24/7.”
Primarily an e-mail device, while pushing those important memos to the top, it was the gadget of choice for professionals.  But a funny thing happened on the way to the office.  The existence of the inhabitants on the other side of the entranceway at work, were dressed down. 
At first glance, in this untailored, laid back den, where working didn’t look much different from lounging, the very physical space resembled an arcade.
Effort fully, in the hopes of attracting the young and savvy, captains of avant-garde industry like Google and Apple, remade the physical space of office architecture to include billiards tables and pinball machines.  The cultural change was consequently downloaded by offices everywhere.  In keeping with the interior world of work, it followed that the virtual world of the road warrior would likewise carry any number of playful communicative devices—a style of contact weaponry equally user friendly.
Just as the physical space and design of office architecture evolved to include cushy couches and comfy ottomans to “brainstorm,” the way we chat slouched back into an overly relaxed lingo—carried through an informal medium.
Mobile communication expressed as; texting, friending, skyping, tweeting, etc., overtook the overburdened e-mail inbox, and those same methods with which we often play, conjoined with how we work.
It fiscally follows then in May and according to Millward Brown, a market-research arm of London advertising giant WPP, Apple, the maker of the sassy iPhone, became the world’s most valuable brand, with an estimated value of more than $153 billion. The dollar value of Apple’s brand surged 84% from last year, helping the company vault to the top of the global rankings from its No. 3 spot last year, the study said.
Interestingly, in another part of the orchard and at the same time, Apple plucked the top spot of B2B brands as determined by The Business Journals knocking Southwest Airlines (another brand that excelled by playing it casual) to #2.
It’s worth noting not only Apple and Southwest, two beloved consumer brands, made the top 10 B2B list, but so did other brands that blur the line between work and play UPS, FedEx, Staples and Sony.
Rigidly descending, Research In Motion (RIM), maker of BlackBerry, has been in a tailspin with its stock hovering around its lowest level in five years.
Even now, with its latest attempt to muscle in on the already crowded tablet market with a device coined “PlayBook”, it will be hard for BlackBerry, a brand hardwired in the mind as all about work, to convince customers they’re something different. 
Abe Novick is owner of  This piece was sent, while in a mobile mode, from his iPhone.