HP Brand Strategy

I joined at the end of 2008 to recast the brand strategy, brand story and visual identity system for all of HP. At the time, HP was the world’s largest technology company — but one that was mired in questions about the strategy behind such massive scale. And, worse, much of the organization had gone tribal with radically different stories, product lines and company logos that all signaled fragmentation rather than the power of the whole.

Reimagining a brand for the digital age

The goal of the program, started in the Fall of 2008, was simple: realign the global organization under under a fresh, singular identity that represented the breadth and scale of the portfolio. But the simplicity of the project’s premise led us to radically reconsider what “identity” even meant. The concept of a brand as an actor, a character whose behavior can adapt on the fly to meet people from any walk of life, anywhere in the world.

The business case for change included this sample of incoherent brand sprawl.

Crafting a story to match our business’ evolution: Human Progress

We anchored the strategy with a long-form Brand Narrative, giving substance to our claims and inspiring the internal creators at HP to rally behind our collective mission.

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.

That’s why we’re 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 brand’s character differentiators defined our relevant differentiation.

Our launchpad for activation: Create Amazing

Create Amazing was the activation strategy we arrived at, meant to reflect the potential of the portfolio to meet the needs of people and businesses around the globe. And the core storyline was the first to fuel those moments when the full portfolio needed to live together, predominantly digital and our conversations with the financial markets.

The rip that started it all: Create Amazing

Unleashing the power of the world’s largest technology company

One of the greatest unforeseen obstacles that we needed to overcome was the internal barrier — could we really tell the story of the portfolio without it turning into watered down corporatespeak? Every business felt that they were having to sacrifice their own positioning, so the effort fell to us to ensure they understood what they were getting rather than only focusing on what they were giving up. A handful of activations for partner conferences, global events like Women of the World and our activations with Dreamworks helped assuage any concerns that this would be another fruitless exercise.

One of the brand’s first activations, taking over Adobe MAX.

Sharing the story of 320,000 inventors

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.

Authentic, human stories of human progress.

Measurable, powerful success

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.”

At the NYSE, celebrating the rise of HP into Interbrand’s Top 10 Best Global Brands.