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Michael Mendenhall, CMO, Hewlett-Packard Co.

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Title: Senior VP-CMO
Company: Hewlett-Packard Co.
Years in current job: 2
Quote: “We have shifted the center of the company's brand online. The digital space is where engagement takes place, and behaviors can be seen. It's about collaborating with customers in an interactive and engaging way.”

In the two years since CMO Michael Mendenhall joined Hewlett-Packard Co. from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, he has been building out a “digital ecosystem” in which the Internet and mobile communications are central not only to marketing functions but also to R&D, customer support, e-commerce and lead generation. Another major step in the digital transformation is the rollout of a next-generation HP.com, which is starting this month and will take about a year to complete.

“HP.com will undergo a complete transformation, with an architecture and foundation that will create a very dynamic, customized user experience,” Mendenhall said. “It will support all of our businesses, all of our regions. It will span transactional, lead generation and support experiences. It also will provide operational efficiencies.”

Mendenhall noted HP is using its own Web services group, which creates sites for other major Fortune 100 brands, to build the Web site, making it “a working model of the services we actually offer on the b-to-b side.”

The relaunched site will provide an upgraded technological platform for HP's digital initiatives, but it doesn't change the strategy, Mendenhall said, adding that one of his major accomplishments at HP has been “building a very deep and sophisticated digital practice at the corporate level.” For example, HP introduced online forums in which customers can provide one another with technology support.

“The forums have become very robust and have helped drive our customer satisfaction scores,” Mendenhall said. Similarly, the opening up of several of HP's product development labs to the social Web to enable unlimited online collaboration has “really improved our innovation process and speed to market,” he said.

Mendenhall has also been establishing strategic partnerships with other well-known brands. HP entered into a multiyear marketing partnership with the National Basketball Association as part of its new multicultural marketing practice. “Even within a mature market, by which I mean the United States, there are still emerging segments that are important in b-to-c, enterprise and small business,” he said. “The NBA is a very powerful organization in reaching multicultural audiences.”

HP is also partnering with Walt Disney Pictures as the title and technology sponsor of a 40-city train tour to promote “Disney's A Christmas Carol,” a 3D movie directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Jim Carrey. To demonstrate HP's performance capture technology, which was used to make the movie, visitors will be able to “morph” their faces into one of the film's characters using HP TouchSmart PCs.

After quietly building a brand reputation management practice, Mendenhall will be leading a repositioning of the brand. “That repositioning is months away, but we've done all the work,” he said.

“Our reputational practice is based on a very detailed segmentation of every stakeholder group that touches the brand, from media and financial analysts to customers, suppliers and employees,” he said. “We have been developing the research, methodology and metrics so that we can benchmark and manage our brand's reputation.” The benchmarking results will provide the baseline against which HP will measure its repositioning initiatives.

“HP has acquired 38 companies over the past four years and we are fundamentally a very different company that offers end-to-end IT services and solutions,” Mendenhall said.

—M.G.

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