HP demonstrates power of partnerships

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Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.
Brand established: 1939
2003 advertising: $511.2 million
Brand equity: $9.4 billion
CoreBrand ranking: No. 20

Gregory: “HP is doing a great job in defining and building their new brand. From top to bottom, from left to right, they are building a bigger, better, new brand.”
Roth: “Their HP Plus campaign is all about their customers.”
Roth: “They have a good thing going; they have to continue to deliver what the [brand] promise is.”
Ries: “A totally flawed strategy: Putting the Hewlett-Packard name on everything is just not going to work in today’s highly competitive high-tech industry.”

Hewlett-Packard Co., which was started in 1939 in a Palo Alto, Calif., garage by Stanford University classmates Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, has retained its legacy of inventiveness through changes in the business climate and significant company growth.

HP kept its primary tagline of "Invent" after it acquired Compaq Computer Corp. in May 2002 but has launched new campaigns and marketing efforts that build on the strength of the combined company.

"One of the most obvious things was simply to get the news out about the new company's combined capabilities," said Allison Johnson, senior VP-global brand and communications at HP, pointing to major accounts such as NASA, the New York Stock Exchange, and FedEx, all of which are powered by HP.

"These quite amazing partnerships were largely unknown-by the larger business world and even by many of the employees of the newly combined company," Johnson added.

To demonstrate the power of partnership, both in terms of the newly merged company and HP's partnerships with its customers, HP introduced a new symbol-the plus sign-that it has used in global advertising and marketing efforts.

Its first campaign making use of the symbol was "You + HP," a consumer campaign for HP's digital cameras that was launched in October 2003 and featured TV spots set to music, including "Pictures of You" by the Cure and "Picture Book" by the Kinks. The campaign was developed by HP's agency of record, Goodby Silverstein, San Francisco.

In February 2004, HP launched a large b-to-b campaign called "Change + HP," including its first major TV advertising for the enterprise audience, to introduce Solutions for the Adaptive Enterprise.

The campaign included TV, print, online and outdoor. One billboard in San Francisco read "Change happens." Every week agency staff would climb up and install fake ivy on it until only the words remained visible.

With the "Change + HP" campaign, the message to the business audience was "love change," said Steve Simpson, partner and creative director at Goodby, explaining the creative strategy in reaching the b-to-b audience.

"We conducted dozens of focus groups with IT decision-makers and, while many felt burdened by change, by far the more interesting characters we met loved the challenge of change," Simpson said. "They saw change as an opportunity to drive competitive advantage. HP can really partner with this kind of customer."

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