Over time, every company will change its branding strategy with the aim of keeping communication fresh, enticing new markets and continuing to excite the existing audience. If the company wants to target a new group of people to broaden the client base or to improve a failing revenue with a shakeup to boost sales, a brand strategy change may be needed.
A few months ago we posted the first in the series of posts about this, looking into how and why global brands Johnnie Walker, Coca-Cola and Reebok have all changed brand strategy (read it here). This time around, we’ll analyse recent changes made to three tech brands – Intel, HP and Microsoft.
Intel for many years has been famous for its “Intel inside” approach, which has become a quality stamp for many products, in particular personal computers, reassuring consumers that because of Intel’s technology (which in fact they can’t even see) the product they’ve bought is more reliable. However, this strategy has been changed recently. The company execs believed that the “Intel inside” has made Intel an invisible brand.
The company shifted its focus from the inside to the outside, emphasising the “amazing experiences” Intel’s technology enables. Several high-profile initiatives were launched to mark the move. This included the David Bowie tribute at the Grammys, performed by Lady Gaga, which featured robotics, holograms and digital make-up, and the introduction of freeD technology that allows 360-degree replays at the NBA All-Star weekend.
In 2015, after more than 75 years of operation, Hewlett-Packard officially split into two separate, individual companies: HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. HP moved to B2C trading, promoting computers, tablets and printers for personal use, while Hewlett Packard Enterprise now focuses on B2B solutions, including servers, storage, networking and more, with the communication strategy emphasising the company’s role in helping businesses and organisations accelerate their digital transformation.
For that reason, HP needed a new brand strategy. HP’s positioning revolves around “meaningful innovation”. With the focus moving from B2B to B2C, it now focuses on making technology that improves people’s lives and work (“to make life better for everyone, everywhere”). In terms of communication, HP has taken a similar route to Microsoft and Samsung, avoiding campaigns that revolve around product promotion, and instead, making more of a point based around consumer benefits.
Before changing its brand strategy, Microsoft’s mission statement said: “At Microsoft, our mission and values are to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.” Now though, it reads: “Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” Sounds familiar? Well, although they sound very samey, the Microsoft brand strategy is executed very differently.
Since the appointment of the new CEO, Satya Nadella in 2014, some big changes in the way the company communicates can be noticed. Microsoft now puts a stronger emphasis on showcasing consumer benefits (in particular, how people can achieve more with various Microsoft products) rather than technical product features.
This new strategy has been put into action in the way Microsoft communicates, dropping serious, corporate language and replacing it with a warmer, more human tone of voice. The VP of Global Advertising and Media at Microsoft, Kathleen Hall said to Marketing Week: “You can expect a more emotional approach and to be about our consumers and what they do with our products and not about us and the shiny things we make.”
As with all brand strategy changes, the three tech companies analysed here have all done it for different reasons. HP’s came as the result of a company split, Intel wanted to make its brand more visible, while at Microsoft the change came with the new management.
You can find complete analyses of the three brands on BrandStruck.
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Magda Adamska is the founder of BrandStruck.
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This is a tool that is dedicated to brand and marketing professionals, allowing them to better understand the positioning of the world’s most admired brands, the similarities and differences between them and to learn more about certain categories.