December 1999

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HP’s stock roared as Fiorina launched a new brand and TV campaign

Using the Comdex trade show and a respectable quarterly report as a springboard, new CEO Carly Fiorina put herself at the center of a new branding campaign to convince the world and HP workers the company is re-inventing itself. The resulting barrage of public statements lifted the stock above $100 a share from a low in the 70s just weeks earlier. But few analysts could find much evidence of real change after hearing Fiorina’s reports at the end of November.

Fiorina used her Comdex keynote speech to introduce a new logo and campaign for the company, adding the word “invent” below the HP graphic and removing the words “Hewlett-Packard.” The logo signifies a return to HP’s roots, Fiorina said in her speech, the first keynote by a female executive in 15 years at Comdex. “Today we are focused on reinventing ourselves to make the Internet more useful for people,” the CEO said. “For us, this brand, this logo and this campaign is about capturing the inventive spirit of everyone in HP, so we can fulfill our real potential on behalf of customers.” The new campaign included a display of the HP 3000 on the corporate Web site as one of two HP key inventions during the 1970s. The only other HP computer to appear in the new brand Web site tied was the HP 2116 computer, a real-time system that was the precursor to the HP 3000.

Some HP 3000 customers have noted that the new logo uses a word in English, making the HP logo difficult to translate for HP’s overseas market. HP currently does as much business outside of native English-speaking countries as inside them. The HP campaign is being led by Antonio Perez, the HP president who runs the company’s Consumer Business. Perez said the campaign shows that HP is moving from a “successful product-driven company to a customer-driven company.” The HP 3000 division pioneered customer-driven strategies inside HP. The new HP brand got its widest exposure in a TV ad campaign which started to air in prime time on several networks in the US during December. One tag line in the ad shown during Fiorina’s Comdex speech was “What should we invent next?”

Fiorina said the invention message is a key part of HP’s heritage, citing the company’s 10,000-patent portfolio, growing with five new patents on average every working day. “We intend to live at the intersection of services, appliances, devices and infrastructure,” the CEO’s said in her speech and asked if “the ’net was working for you? Either the net remains elite, the purview of the technology geeks, or instead the ’net becomes pervasive, intimate, warm, friendly, useful, personal.” Fiorina appears in the TV ads, which introduce the idea of “inventing the new HP — want to come along?” Stressing that the company was founded by “two young men who simply wanted to invent things,” the new branding message states that “The original company of inventors is launched on a new career of invention.”

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