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Aptitude vs. Attitude: HP Knows it Takes Consistency

HP watchers have been on quite a ride over the past few years. It’s been full of thrills, change, some major bumps, and, finally, a financial performance that has shareholders applauding. How did they get to this point? There are many explanations, but I like the contribution that consistent product messaging has made to their new situation.
With advertising purchases in excess of 1 billion and revamped agency relationships, HP is delivering products with a classy look and feel, supported by campaigns that underscore the point in a way that has propelled the firm past Dell. Previously known for engineering, the company is now also known as a firm that knows how to provide great design. Their line of laptops attests to this. But that’s not news.
Say it once, twice, three times
What’s news is the consistency with which the communication is being driven to consumers and businesses alike. And the fact that HP is taking risk regarding the celebrities in the ads marks a clear change. The once-staid company has thrown off its engineering persona to embrace pop culture.
The HP video ad campaign is a case in point. During Carly Fiorina’s tenure the company developed a relationship with singer, songwriter and fashion designer Gwen Stefani. Hard to imagine Bill and Dave in the same frame as the platinum-blonde Hollaback Girl, isn’t it? It’s a diverse group of alumni that now includes designer Vera Wang, entrepreneur and Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban, rapper and music impresario Jay-Z, snowboarder Shaun White, actor Keanu Reeves and author Paulo Coelho.
Here’s the Coelho ad:

The ad content complements Coelho’s magical realism writing style, and effectively conveys what an HP laptop owner might imagine herself doing with the product.
The latest video ad–launched after New York’s recent Fashion Week–features Gwen Stefani. In it, HP continues to push the envelope toward design and uses the new tag line, “What do you have to say?”

It’s great to see HP being decisive and reclaiming its place. There’s a lesson for all of us in this. Courage isn’t optional. Put a stake in the ground, drop the fear and move forward. Anything less doesn’t serve our customers or us.

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