Motorola powers up

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Motorola's revamped DigitalDNA branding campaign signals that the company is sticking to its 1997 pledge to change its own corporate DNA.

The $10 million print campaign, which was relaunched June 10 with a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal following an initial appearance last year, offers some proof that two business-to-business divisions of the Schaumburg, Ill.-based company -- its semiconductor products sector (SPS) and its integrated electronics systems sector (IESS) -- have finally added some marketing power to their technology-oriented culture.

Using the tagline "The heart of smart," the new campaign employs an ingredient strategy similar to fellow semiconductor manufacturer Intel Corp.'s long-running "Intel Inside" campaign. While Intel's campaign focuses on the personal computer market, Motorola's DigitalDNA ads show that the company's "embedded solutions" provide the hidden computing power in a range of consumer products.

Dozens of Motorola semiconductors are used in BMWs and Cadillacs. The company also makes the chips that allow cell phones to access e-mail. And Motorola products power the smart boxes that convert high-definition TV signals into clear pictures for standard televisions.

But few people outside Motorola and its key customers know this.

"We really haven't been doing much in the way of marketing [in the past]," says Anne Stuessy, director of public relations and marketing communications for IESS, Northbrook, Ill. "It's been a neglected area. There is a newfound recognition of marketing and of branding.

"Now we're doing the same good job on the marketing side as we've always done on the engineering side."

Powering marketing's ascendance at Motorola is Jocelyn Carter-Miller, chief marketing officer. Ms. Carter-Miller, who has been with the company for seven years, learned many of her marketing skills during a stint at Mattel.

The toy business and the computer business have at least this in common, Ms. Carter-Miller says: New products have small selling windows, which only emphasize the importance of a strong overall brand.

One indication of the importance Motorola now places on marketing has been the elevation of the chief marketing officer position. "That she reports directly to the CEO [Christopher Galvin] is significant," Ms. Stuessy says.

Origins of DigitalDNA

The DigitalDNA branding campaign originated in the SPS division two years ago, around the time Motorola reorganized the Austin, Texas-based division in light of the Asian economic crisis. The restructured division was charged with altering its corporate culture, moving from a device-centric operation to a customer-focused one, says Greg Nelson, corporate VP-chief marketing officer for SPS.

The division was once divided into 18 device-oriented divisions, where marketing was something of an afterthought and generally consisted of individual product ads placed in trade publications.

"This model, [SPS President] Hector Ruiz realized -- and a number of other people realized -- was not going to be a sustainable model going forward," Mr. Nelson says.

Now SPS is organized into four market-focused groups -- transportation, wireless communications, networking systems, and imaging and entertainment -- and marketing has edged into prominence. In an arena where technology advantages rarely last more than a few months, branding was finally being seen by SPS as a necessity.

About the time of the division's restructuring, an SPS team explored new ways to market the division. As many others in the computer industry have concluded in recent years, this team saw it was time to market the solutions the company offered rather than any specific technology or devices.

Combined messages

The group hit upon the words DigitalDNA, a phrase SPS took to its ad agency, what is now TFA/Leo Burnett Technology Group, Chicago. Last year, SPS launched a DigitalDNA advertising campaign that appeared in business and consumer magazines and told businesspeople and end users alike that Motorola makes semiconductors that are in cars, cellular phones and other devices.

The idea was a simple one: "It tells people who we are and what we do," Ms. Carter-Miller says.

Research, according to executives at TFA/Leo Burnett Technology Group, indicated the ads could be improved. In the latest iteration, the tagline "The heart of smart" was added. The ads now bypass the consumer, aiming straight at businesspeople.

Perhaps most important, the ads now combine the messages of SPS and IESS, which target the same basic markets with slightly different products; SPS makes semiconductor products, while IESS manufactures embedded computer boards and other integrated electronic systems.

"This is a real team effort on the part of Motorola," Ms. Carter-Miller says. "Never before have these businesses worked so hand-in-hand."

Consistent goal

Even with IESS now involved, the message of the ads remains basically the same. So does the goal.

"Here we have a sector, the SPS sector, which is [about] $8 billion, and IESS, which is [about] another $3 billion," Mr. Nelson says. "These are huge divisions, with huge earnings, that very few people understand or know anything about."

The question now: Will the budget be big enough? Other computer industry branding campaigns dwarf the $10 million Motorola is spending. IBM Corp.'s advertising budget is more than $500 million, while Hewlett-Packard Co. is spending $150 million on its e-services campaign.

But Ms. Carter-Miller doesn't expect to completely change Motorola's corporate DNA overnight. "Spending is up 500%" from two years ago, she notes.

The change at Motorola is not showing itself merely in more sophisticated marketing programs. In May, the company sold its Semiconductor Components Group, which sold commodity chips and didn't focus on customer solutions. Additionally, the stock price has climbed 146% since last October to $94.75 a share as of June 30.

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