The goal of the program, started in the Fall of 2008, was simple: to realign the global organization under under a new brand strategy that represented the breadth and scale of the portfolio. The business was either #1 or #2 in almost every category in which it competed, but the general perception across the range of customer segments was rooted in commodity printers or commodity PCs. Not at all the innovation powerhouse that the business needed to continue fueling its growth.
A side-effect of the business’ scale was the sprawl of different identities. After 56 acquisitions in a five year period — and a three year period without a CMO or Central Marketing organization — the brand sprawl had become unmanageable, leaving each of the groups to effectively compete on their own. Even the individual business groups were carrying their own version of the HP logo, creating customer confusion and failing to capture the halo of the HP masterbrand.
We anchored the strategy with a long-form Brand Narrative. It started from researching the work and vision of Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. The legacy of Bill and Dave is at the foundation of Silicon Valley, but we couldn't just be looking backwards. We needed to lend substance to our story today and inspire all of the creators across the globe to rally behind this new Brand Narrative:
In a constantly changing world, people, businesses, and societies must continue to adapt in order to thrive. HP believes that technology is vital to advance this evolution.
Thats why were committed to unleashing new possibilities using our products, services, and ideas to have a meaningful impact on business, life, and the earth both today and tomorrow.
We thrive on solving customer problems, relentlessly pioneering new opportunities. No problem is too small or too complex. We listen, collaborate, and seek new insights. By doing so, we strive to continually wow our customers by anticipating their needs often in ways they never expected or imagined.
We never stop exploring. We never stop at impossible. Each challenge leads to the next. One refinement leads to another. Always thinking forward and creating together to drive human progress. Because when we do, amazing things happen.
The story resonated with our teams amazingly well — including the important cohort of those employees that knew Bill and Dave. Getting alignment across the organization was its own challenge, with a business made up of 56 Global Business Units servicing 176 countries. The very scale of the organization meant briefing and taking onboard feedback was its own full-time job, but this step was essential to drive global realization.
The simplicity of the symbol allowed us to imbue meaning, motion and connection into its rendering. And, most importantly, that the symbol could actually be a part of the story being told rather than just a bolt-on at the end.
Every part of the identity system was built to inspire, not restrict. We took an early stance that we needed to create “tools, not rules” as HP had a long history of publishing oppressive design guidelines that sucked every last bit of creativity out of even the strongest soul.
As the world leader in printing, HP certainly had a powerful claim on owning color. But, more importantly, being just another “blue brand” in the technology space was death…the least interesting way we could come to life. So instead, we found a way to bring visual energy through the bold use of color into everything that we did from enterprise to consumer.
The entire design system, from use of color to scale of composition, needed to appropriately flex to the audience being addressed. By being crisp on the behaviors that supported the visual design system, we were able to create one of the most comprehensive, yet fully cohesive, visual design systems ever.
Brand relaunches can be tricky. They need to be true to their heritage, but valuable to the business’ forward momentum. Overindex on one or the other and you lose credibility. And the legacy of Bill and Dave, along with all of the other inventors at HP, was so powerful that we had to find a way to attach ourselves to its significance without letting the brand be a mausoleum for their memory. Bringing the stories of current employees to life was critical to reaffirming our culture and what makes us unique. This film connects our legends to our present without sacrificing on either side.
The brand program for HP added over $3 billion in brand value in the first 18 months of the program, as measured by both the Interbrand Best Global Brands study and Millward Brown’s BrandZ study. We worked extensively with each of these consultancies to ensure they understood the commitment the business had made to the program and the outcomes we were delivering. And, as we found out, it’s wildly validating when you bring an analyst to tears by sharing the strategy that “finally gets it right.”