Brand gives Intel inside track

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Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.
Brand established: 1968
2003 advertising: $131.1 million
Brand equity: $19.3 billion
CoreBrand ranking: No .9
Gregory: “Intel has always been impressive in their ability to build and leverage their brand. Our data indicate they are currently underleveraged and have room to grow.”
Roth: “They are the poster child for how you create an ingredient brand.”
Ries: “Intel is undermining its strength (and its brand name) by devoting too much time and attention to consumer electronic products.”
Roth: “[With Centrino] they’ve established two brands, and brands are expensive.”

Intel Corp. has turned its unique brand challenge—being a parts manufacturer—into an asset with its long-standing “Intel inside” slogan.

The company, which was founded in 1968 and introduced its first microprocessor in 1971, has adapted to ups and downs in the computing industry by pushing new technology, partnerships and industry standards.

On Oct. 14, Intel announced plans to scrap its 4 gigahertz Pentium 4 chip and focus on a new chip design. Intel's stock rose 4.2% on the news.

"Our big challenge is that the immediate wants of our customers have changed dramatically," said Don MacDonald, VP-sales and marketing, and director of worldwide branding and campaigns for Intel. "At first, people wanted higher performance, then they wanted more compatibility, then they wanted low power consumption."

MacDonald said that being an "ingredient brand" poses particular challenges for Intel.

"We do not sell directly to the business user, so getting recognized for work we do is a significant problem," he said.

That's why Intel has gotten involved in highly visible efforts such as helping to develop standards for wireless computing, rich media and other new technologies, as well as hosting industry initiatives.

For example, this past summer Intel partnered with Forbes to produce "Wi-Fi in the 21st Century Workplace," an editorial program that included print, online, radio and business seminars.

Intel has also established a $500 million fund, called the Intel Communications Fund, which invests in emerging technologies, such as Wi-Fi and data services. To date, the fund has made more than 80 investments in 17 countries.

To communicate its brand message of delivering safety and technology to the business audience, Intel uses a broad mix of marketing programs, including traditional advertising, online, events, direct mail and PR.

"Advertising is definitely a news and awareness mechanism," said Sean Connolly, worldwide advertising manager for Intel. "We'll use print, online and e-mail newsletters to create more of a relationship and ongoing dialogue with customers."

Over the past 12 months, a major focus for Intel has been marketing its Centrino brand of wireless technology, which includes a microprocessor, chipsets and wireless networking products.

Intel launched Centrino in mid-2003 and has used a host of advertising, live events and experiential marketing to educate the marketplace about the benefits of mobile technology.

In September 2003, Intel hosted "One Unwired Day," in which it demonstrated the Centrino technology at thousands of locations across the country.

Intel has also promoted wireless "hot spots" through creative partnerships to connect users to the Internet via Centrino-enabled notebooks.

For example, Intel has a partnership with Yahoo! Maps that lets users create maps showing Centrino hot spots. So far, more than 4 million people have plotted Yahoo! maps with hot spots.

Euro RSCG MVBMS created the "Unwire" ad campaign for Intel's Centrino brand, which uses performance artists Blue Man Group to tout the benefits of wireless computing. Intel's advertising account is now in review.

-Kate MaddoxB

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