Unisys Shifts Image From Hardware to Solutions

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Though marketers strive for name recognition, Unisys has begun a multimillion-dollar global print and television campaign to move away from its image among some business customers as a hardware manufacturer.

"People knew our name but not necessarily everything we do," Unisys advertising program director Kerry Baker said. "We want to use this campaign to let people clearly understand what our capabilities are, what we do and how we can benefit them."

Unisys, Blue Bell, PA, defines itself as a services and technology provider with five main services: systems integration, outsourcing, infrastructure, server technology and consulting. Its target customers are medium and large-sized businesses, especially firms in financial services, publishing and media, transportation, telecommunications and the public sector.

For this campaign, Unisys is reaching CEOs, CFOs and other management decision makers as well as IT executives responsible for implementing the technology.

"It's important for us to go after both groups," Baker said. "The services we provide affect the entire lifeblood of the company, so we have to target key executives and decision makers. And we have to speak to the people who make the technology recommendations to them as well."

The theme is "Imagine it. Done." Baker said the goal is to convey that Unisys respects and understands that each company has its own vision and that Unisys has the tools to help them accomplish that vision.

Baker said the company realized it had a familiarity problem within the market and probably was received more as a hardware company than a service provider. So before launching the campaign, it researched executives from major clients, financial and industry analysts, partners and Unisys employees to get an idea of the perception of the company. Based on the research, the company identified three themes to address in its marketing materials: what we do, who we do it for and why the target customer should care.

Print and television ads will discuss a success story of one of Unisys' customers.

The print effort began with a "manifesto" ad in The Wall Street Journal.

"That ad lays out our statement of intent and the strategy of the company," Baker said. "The ads following that one will be more focused on a specific competency."

Baker said it plans to use six or seven print executions. Ads also will run in Fortune, Business Week and Leaders and in technology publications including Info Week, Network Computing, CIO and Network World.

Baker said it was important to use stories from clients to help people understand why they should care about what Unisys offers.

"If you can tell people about the things you have accomplished for major companies, they are going to be more likely to listen," he said. "We did not want to present these people with some pie-in-the-sky image of what we can do for them. We had to provide them with hard, reality-based facts about us and what we do."

All of the ads contain a phone number and the Web address for the newly designed Unisys site, though Baker said it did not want to make the response mechanisms prominent.

"We did not want to put a strong call to action on the ads," he said. "We are looking to convey the corporate image to these people first. But we do want to provide them with the option to contact us."

The TV portion of the campaign also began June 13. The two TV spots will run throughout the year on national cable and broadcast channels. The spots also will appear in Europe and Japan.

Direct mail is not planned, but Baker said it could be used as the campaign continues throughout the year.

"We want to get the word out in a broad way initially," he said. "So at this time, direct mail will not be part of the initial flurry of activity."

Unisys worked with darkGrey, a unit of Grey Worldwide, NY, on the campaign.


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