Dell global consumer effort aims to personalize PC brand

After losing market share this year, Dell launched a multimillion-dollar global consumer marketing campaign late last month to redefine consumer perceptions of the company in the marketplace and add a “cool” factor to its brand. 

“We are revolutionizing our approach to consumer marketing,” said Paul-Henri Ferrand, CMO of global consumer and SMB at Dell. “We want to be the new cool.”

The multimillion dollar campaign, which was created by WPP Group agencies Wunderman, Schematic and Young & Rubicam, as well as outside agency Mother, uses direct mail, e-mail marketing and social media, as well as TV, print and display advertising. Dell is rolling the effort out in all its global markets, with an emphasis on the US, Japan, China, Australia, India, the UK, France, Germany, Brazil and Canada.   

Ferrand said Dell is investing heavily in segmentation and CRM in the “You can tell it’s Dell” campaign. It will tout personalization in products it launches around the holidays. 

There has been a “relentless focus” on listening to customers’ wants and embedding them into Dell’s offerings, he said. 

The number of Dell PC shipments in the US fell about 5% year-over-year in the third quarter of 2010, dropping the company behind rival HP, according to analysts. Apple, which ranks third in US computer shipments, outpaced all competitors with year-over-year growth of 24.1% in Q3 2010, according to International Data Corp.

Nick Moore, EVP and chief creative officer at Wunderman, which created the tagline, said targeting ads to consumer segments is critical to the effort. 

“The strategy is to work off this insight that computers are all the same, to challenge that and to make consumers think again by saying, ‘There’s a difference,’” he said. “Going forward, into the addressable media, like e-mail or the CRM stream, we really developed the element of relevance based on what we know about ‘you’ to really add an extra punch to the communications.”

Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst in the consumer product strategy group at Forrester Research, said the strategy is likely tied to Dell’s business position. 

“Dell is losing share in enterprise and focusing more on consumer marketing to bolster sales,” she said.

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