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June 12, 2011#

Dell: Re-Positioning a Brand from the Inside Out

Dell became a $60 Billion company built on a business model of mass customization (built to order).

By 2006 this approach had run out of steam.

Consumers viewed Dell as cheap hardware for consumers.  In fact, 98% of Dell’s profits came from B-to-B.   In fact, 98% of Fortune 500 companies chose Dell.

More concerning perhaps, most Dell employees felt that the company’s best days were behind it.

Clearly, the company had a perception problem, inside and out.  The challenge:  redefine what the company stood for.

Taking a page from IBM’s own successful business transformation, Dell decided to move from built-to-order hardware to a solutions and services company.

In looking to reposition the company, Dell first re-introduced itself of its forgotten brand heritage:  “Technology should not be a privilege:  it is essential to human success.”

Building upon its rediscovered heritage, it defined its new brand purpose:  “Delivering technology solutions that enable people everywhere to grow and thrive

Ultimately, this led to a new brand platform:  “At Dell, we believe that technology exists for one reason . . . to help people and organizations do and achieve more.”

Following an internal brand campaign, 75% of employees now understand what Dell stands for, and most believe its best days are still ahead.

Basic Branding Lesson #1:  you can’t effectively re-position a brand in customers’ minds until you first secure buy-in, support and enthusiasm from your own employees.

Basic Branding Lesson #2:  Sometimes you need to revisit your heritage to rediscover and reignite your brand focus, passion and authenticity.