Tuesday, October 24, 2006

HP : Computer Is Personal Again

Brand : HP computers
Company : HP
Agency : Publicis

Brand Count :146

The Indian computer hardware industry is huge and growing. The sheer size of the Indian middleclass is an ample evidence of the huge potential for personal computers in the country. The computer penetration in India is barely 1 percent that makes the market more challenging and attractive.

Although the numbers present a rosy picture, the reality is not as rosy as it seems. The market is dominated by unbranded players and the computer today have a commodity status with brands losing its relevance to a home computer buyer. This has put lot of pressure for the organised player to reduce margins and cost to compete with the unbranded players. In the earlier stages of the evolution of this industry, the factors like reliability and service had given the organised players significant advantage over the unorganised sector. But with the standardisation of products and the outsourced service elements becoming popular, the branded computers lost their edge.
Even with the price war raging , the branded version costs anywhere between 20-30% premium over the unbranded ones.The rate at which the processors and technologies becoming obsolete is forcing the customers to look for cheaper options. The rationale for the customer is simple " The system I buy in 2006 is going to be obsolete in 2007, hence why invest in a branded one?".

HP ( Hewlett Packard) is one of the major players in the organised market in India. This multinational giant have around 20% share in the desktop market. Reports suggest that HCL-the domestic player is leading the market.
In this market which is typically fragmented with chances of differentiations are slim, it takes lot of innovation and marketing skill to survive. That is what HP is currently doing. In June 2006, HP launched its global marketing campaign to reinvent the personal computer industry. The campaign with the tagline " The computer is Personal Again" is an attempt to brand a commodity again. Personal Computers or PC was what we used to call the desktops but later the term lost its charm and we began to use the terms like desktops, laptops and notebooks. These terms were technical terms and was a result of the market becoming more mature and as a result more commoditised.Most of the campaigns by computer manufacturers were focusing on technical specifications and price offers. There were little branding efforts and most of the campaigns were dealer ads funded partly by the manufacturers. Branding was slowly dying and sales promotions were gaining prominance.

HP's new initiative is to bring back the personal nature of the computers. Business Week in a report has detailed that this campaign is intended to position HP as a company that truly understands how central PC's has become to most people's life. The campaign features a " Hand drawn graphic of a Hand" in every ads. Only select products will be highlighted in this campaign and these products will be promoted using only their striking feature. That means that the company is going back to the marketing basics of USP, Positioning and Differentiation. The campaign has also roped in MTV for a Advertiser Funded Programme titled " Meet or Delete" reality show as a part of its 360 degree brand campaign.

The print ads featuring celebrities stand out intheir designs and communication. The sheer beauty and depth of campaign makes it one of the most memorable marketing efforts of recent times. The campaign globally is conceived by Goodby, Silverstein and Partners for the Personal Services Group of HP.
Another beauty of the current positioning platform is the flexibility and creativity that it offers to the marketer. There is ample scope for extending this positioning to all product ranges, new products and across segments.The campaign also gives the marketer an opportunity to experiment with the product, change its design and sometimes make mistakes all in the name of reinventing PC.

With regard to the current theme and its execution in Indian market, the ads mainly is targeted at the affluent middleclass tech savvy customers. The ordinary lot will not understand this communication because the execution of this ad is too complicated for an ordinary buyer to understand. I am not sure whether HP is only aiming at Premium customers ?The success of this campaign will depend a lot on how this strategy is being executed at the customer moments of truth or touchpoints. Is he going to get a personalised attention at the retail level? Will the company follow this strategy with new product ranges and extend this campaign to a mass level?

Whatever be the outcome of this campaign, this will be rated as a classic marketing initiative . As a marketer, I am happy because " Marketing is personal again"

source: businessweek, bbc,expresscomputers, agencyfaqs