FROM THE 2010 ANA CONFERENCE: Dell's brand repositioning

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Orlando, Fla.—As part of a multiyear initiative to revive what it considered to be a flagging brand, Dell Inc. is moving forward with a new positioning: “The power to do more.”

“We were confused about who we are and what we're about,” former Dell CMO Erin Mulligan Nelson said in an address Thursday at the Association of National Advertisers annual conference. “We found that our brand had actually splintered.”

In seeking to revive its own brand, Dell studied those of companies it admired, including Procter & Gamble Co., Southwest Airlines and British retailer Marks & Spencer, Nelson said. “The thing they all stood for was making a difference in the world,” she said.

Nelson said Dell recognized it, too, was making a difference by following a philosophy that came down from company founder Michael Dell: “The idea that technology shouldn't be a privilege.”

After working over the past year to emphasize its sense of purpose through internal marketing to its 96,000 employees, Dell is now readying its external marketing push.

Nelson announced last month that she was stepping down as senior VP-CMO of Dell. She was joined on stage after her remarks Thursday by her successor, Karen Quintos, who elaborated on the success of the company's employee marketing effort.

“They have to own the brand—and they do own the brand and they live the brand,” Quintos said.

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