meg Whitman

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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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I don’t mean to pick on HP or its advertising and marketing again. But I must.  The company is using arguably the world’s best advertising agency (BBDO) and can’t get out of its own way.  They can’t come up with a sustainable brand idea; an idea that marries what they do best with what customers want most. Today’s new idea, as seen in an ad in the NYT, revolves around the notion of “further faster.”  It is all claim, exposition and pedantic nothingness – not a single sign of proof in the copy. Do HP and Meg Whitman really think IT executives and Fortune 2000 leaders don’t know they have to be faster and more informed in their business decisions? OMG. If “further faster” is the idea — at least it is better than “make it matter,” their last strategic foray. You wouldn’t know it from this ad however.

HP has bigger fish to fry than a tagline and brand idea. They are splitting the company and losing small cities worth of money. That said, someone at the top in the marketing dept. should be trying much harder to deliver a clear, meaningful idea.

BBDO is great at selling consumer goods but perhaps doesn’t truly get B2B. (B team?) This whole mess is really hard to believe. If HP wants to get to the future faster, they had better learn a lot more about claim and proof…and find the organizing principle that helps make more money. Peace.

 

 

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HP’s earnings were higher than expected this quarter, but revenue was down. Contemporaneously, Silicon Valley is celebrating the smartest kids in business  (I don’t know their names) owners of Snapchat who just turned down $3B from Facebook — and they have no revenue model.

For all the expense cutting Meg Whitman has done at HP — for all the business blocking and tackling — it should be known that revenue in 5 of 6 business segment is down. Not good.

In this age of “content is king,” I’d like to go off piste and say “revenue is king.”  Business process reengineering, the cloud, social business design and the maker economy are the things of Harvard Business Review essays and B+ papers. But revenue is what business is built upon. Let me say it again, revenue is the thing upon which businesses are built. Top line dollars.

Follow the revenue in the 21st century. When someone opens their wallet, marketing has happened. When someone opens their wallet learning can take place. Metrics can take place.

Ms. Whitman needs to be chasing revenue growth. Period. Let her direct reports work the expense side. Peace.

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Living in the now is what marketing directors are hired to do.  There is nothing more stimulating for a marketer than watching the orders come in. Units, dollars, cases…these are the things that generate wood. Behind the arrow. 😉  Sales are the real data. Being able to interpret feeder data and relate it to sales is important, but sales are the business.

Strategy is the landscape that surrounds sales; the lens through which we see and interpret them. Yet sales-driven organizations don’t always care about strategy, they care about the now.  They live in the now.  A good part of my brand planning rigor is devoted to tracking the sales and selling experience.  It feeds the strategy.  But sales and sales tactics that live in the now without a paean to strategy become easily tired.

Marketing directors need to balance the now with the long term. Slow and steady do not get marketing directors to the head of the line.  Meg Whitman, CEO of HP is no marketing director (Oh yes she is) but she’s being given time to turn HP around. Slow and steady.  Marketing directors don’t have that luxury; especially with dashboard jockeys on every horizon.  

The key for any new marketing director or CMOs over their first 100 days is to learn the business, properly cultivate the marketing department, quickly plant seeds, and share successes. With a plan, with a strategy, all tactics become accountable.  Good sales and bad sales become obvious. Now. Then. And when. Peace.

 

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Raise your hand if you think computers are going away? Raise your hand if you think the design form of computers will continue to change? Now quick, name 4 computer brands.

If HP wasn’t among those listed, I’d be surprised.

Where the R&D at?

If I were to count every word of every story about Hewlett Packard over the last 5 years, I’m betting the words research and development doesn’t appear in 1% of the search. Why is that? I’m sure they’re doing some R&D, but they can’t be investing in it in a big way. In the PC and computer businesses, I’ve yet to read about any of their design or form breakthroughs. So what are they doing. They’re playing business Monopoly. Moving pieces around, marketing old stuff, managing loss and going to dinners.

There is a huge, huge pot of money in computing. The design form is changing and is certainly not yet done. And HP is busy lounging around with the world’s second leading computer brand.

Next year at CES, HP should quietly in stealth mode launch something big. With all the other big guys not playing in the CES sandbox it would be a highlight moment. But only if they were to launch something out of their R&D garage that mattered. (Como se Make it Matter.) Come on Ms. Whitman. Peace.

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