While many technology companies struggle to make the change from old-line, engineering-heavy firms into fleet-footed customer and marketing-centric businesses, Hewlett-Packard is already one step ahead. Having invested time and reallocated budgets to bulk up
branding and creative into a single "Invent" vision, it's now moving to take media one step further, using creative and innovative ways to make the media delivery method part of the message.
The man behind that media mission is Scott Berg.
"Sure, we can run TV ads and we do, but we also need to get interaction with our customer," says the 41-year-old worldwide media director. "At HP, we put the customer at the center and build the media out from there. Many times, we go to our media partners with those ideas that come from putting ourselves in the place of the customer. ... It's not about a media buy, but a customer solution."
HP and Mr. Berg have placed particular emphasis not only on building HP's reputation in providing an excellent entertainment experience, but also as a media opportunity. For instance, some of the media projects Mr. Berg has been involved in recently include: the first global sponsorship of the MTV Video Music Awards; a long-term integration deal with DreamWorks for its animated films; ongoing individual show work with MTV including this year's sponsorship of "The '70s House"; a deal with rock singer Gwen Stefani to design an HP digital camera and play a crossover role in promoting it; and an HP product integration agreement with the History Channel's "Virtual History."
The investment is showing results in some key HP consumer categories. HP now ranks No. 5 in digital camera sales in the U.S., according to analyst IDC, up from No. 7 just two years ago. HP has also sold more than a million of its entertainment-focused media center products, which makes HP the worldwide leader. The company has maintained the lead market share of the overall printer business despite increasing competition from Dell and others. It also acquired online photo printer Snapfish in March to maintain its printing edge as users move to print more digital photos online.
Return on investment is also key for Mr. Berg, who has held his current role for two years, but before that worked as the head of direct and database marketing for HP and its now-merged partner Compaq, and holds a bachelor's degree in finance with a minor in economics. He has developed analytic tools to determine the gross levels of rating points a campaign needs to maintain or grow market share. Market research is also used to determine how customers relate to a particular medium, and specifically benchmark how and where HP's key metrics of awareness, consideration, preference and buying develop in relation to media. As part of his ROI focus, Mr. Berg is also bent on reducing costs and eliminating unproductive elements. It's working- year over year for 2005, HP has reduced its media costs by one-third.
"I'm investing in media and trying to drive a return on that investment," he says.
Under his watch, the media department at HP has taken a more strategic and integrated role in the overall business. Media at HP is no longer seen as a creative-only discussion, but how it can be used to further HP's strategy, making his team's efforts much more integrated overall. "We now have a seat at the big table," he says. HP, in fact, has gained note in the general marketing and advertising business for its efforts, winning a handful of media awards in 2004 and having Mr. Berg invited as the first Cannes media judge from a U.S.-based client company.
"Scott has been a huge proponent of HP's `Invent' positioning, and this has resulted in media innovation programs of the highest caliber [evidenced by] Campaign magazine's award of International Advertiser of the Year besting Apple, and a Cannes Media Lion for HP's product integration with History Channel," says Tim Jones, president of ZenithOptimedia.