Hewlett Packard Enterprise

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I used to say “People who talk about ROI aren’t, getting it.” Today, I amend to say company “CEOs who talk about shareholder value aren’t getting it.”  Look at HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprise). They divided from HP, sold off their services business, are selling their software business and tightening the company compression shorts to make themselves even more attractive to shareholders. Consolidations of this sort are focused on Wall Street. But in technology you need the best product not the leanest business. 

Look at Apple.  Do you think Apple’s people really care about shareholder value as they drive to work?  No, they’re thinking product. Product innovation. Product woosh. Today, The NY Times Farhad Manjoo dinged Apple for lackluster product design of the iPhone 7…and you know that had to hurt. From Tim Cook all the way down to the parking garage attendant. But Apple knows the design is good and they know what’s in the pipeline. Apple cares about product, not shareholder value. Leave shareholder value to the tech companies on the way down. 

Peace.    

 

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Meg Whitman, who is the CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, it seems to me, doesn’t have a marketing bone in her body. She is amazingly successful and a brand unto herself, but marketing is not a major care-about for her. If she cared she would have fought harder to keep HP together and invest into the PC and printer businesses. (Are you reading this on a PC? Is it 6 feet from your HP printer?)  Instead she split the company and took control of something called Hewlett Packard Enterprise, a huge battleship of a company with a stodgy, clunky brand, positioned around an idea “Accelerating Next.” Como se 1990s?

Of the two diverged companies I’m kind of liking the PC and printer business, branded HP Inc. Its new CEO Dion Weisler seems a marketeer. He understands it all starts with a product and has smartly dialed up R&D resulting in some laptop forms that are beginning to create excitement. His printers are offering up consumer care-abouts like lower cost ink and faster printing. It also appears he’s a bit of a showman — introducing some laptops inside one another, as with nested Russian dolls.   

When you think about it, Mr. Whitman got the business brands and Mr. Weisler got the consumer brands which was probably a good plan.

That said, I always bet on a business person with marketing chops.  Let’s see what the future of these two brands bring.

Peace.

 

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Sorry for my snark yesterday concerning the BBDO advertising for Hewlett Packard Enterprise. I’m sure the people who worked on the campaign are very nice. I worked on the Lucent Technologies launch in the 90s when AT&T and Lucent spun apart, and the execution was superb. From the logo design to the launch ads and the subsequent follow-on advertising — that was McCann-Erickson at its best. Lucent was only an $11B company at the time. Hewlett Packard enterprise is $53B.

Launching multi-billion dollar spin offs should be a big thing. Not a pedestrian effort. HP is an American brand of great import. It should carry itself that way. The company deserved fanfare. It deserved a great launch. A big budget.

An ad is an expression of a company. My hope is that moving forward Ms. Whitman and her executives put great effort into the new brand and company, and this “quiet period” will be over soon.

Peace.

 

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Advertising By Bot.

HP split into two companies recently, one of which is called Hewlett Packard Enterprise. It is a $53B company. I’ve been picking on pre-break up company HP for its idea-less advertising for a couple of years, trying to learn more about the advertising by writing planners at BBDO, a terrific shop that know some advertising. To no avail.

hp enterprise

The launch advertising for Hewlett Packard Enterprise is preposterous in this day and age. It’s poor 1990 technology advertising. The brand strategy revolves around “accelerate next.” as in accelerate the speed with which customers use and benefit from technology. Say whaaat? The print work I saw this week is high school- like. The TV ad feels like as if it was directed by an ad bot.

I know Hewlett Packard Enterprise makes some serious technology and does amazing things. But ads are not one of them. Meg Whitman must be asleep at the switch. And BBDO? This is C team stuff. David Lubars can’t have an excuse. The brand brief must have been written by a temp. And I’m not even cranky this morning. This whole advertising cluster fork is amazing to me.

And the Siegle+Gale logo and naming project?  Also sophomoric. I can only hope the teams had about 10 days to do everything and that this the result. Accelerating Next can sometimes be a mistake.

Peace.                                                                                                  

 

 

 

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