For the last year, Hewlett-Packard has been fleshing out its brand with its “What do you have to say?” campaign. So far it has positioned HP’s hardware as tools for self-expression. Competitively, this encroaches on Apple’s position in the personal computer space and elicits comparisons. Not a bad move to be the PC option in the same consideration set as Apple. But I’m not sold yet. I’d like to see what the ROI was on those gorgeous Gwen Stefani ads.
However, MediaPost’s Marketing Daily ran an article about an HP promotional contest that could be the start of something really impactful. The contest was intended to reinforce HP’s software and hardware as tools for branding. I.e. as tools for small businesses to express themselves. The contest encouraged small business owners to submit “what their business has to say” for the opportunity to work with branding experts and win an HP Logoworks package and printer.
Targeting the small business owner is a nice bridge between the “personal” computer and the “business” computer segments. Considering general market forces, economic contraction, and the challenges that are mounting for small businesses, I think this is a terrific move and I’d like to see more from this campaign.
Executed well, HP could become the brand of the new entrepreneur. The tool set that helps people monetize their own skills, passions and dreams. This is meaningful and relevant in an economic climate of growing uncertainty, doubt and instability. The functionality of products like LogoWorks or HP printers can be extended beyond the obvious to become the very bootstraps by which people will be pulling themselves up to succeed professionally.
HP, if you’re listening, there are some great things that you can do in the branded entertainment space to help people realize they are their own greatest asset. Something along the lines of providing a jump-start for start-ups.