New branding to rejuvenate HP

New branding to rejuvenate HP

Hewlett-Packard (HP) sees the launch of its new "reinvent" logo and $US200 million global brand campaign as timely, amidst a period where the company is in need of some rejuvenation.

HP's branding campaign will pump more energy back into the organisation, said Cheah Kean Huat, managing director, HP South Asia, who quipped that while the company was commonly perceived to be "big and stable", it was beginning to be seen as "a little stale, big, and stodgy".

Agilent went through a major corporate branding exercise when it was spun off from HP, Cheah explained, adding that the same needed to be done for HP. Its branding campaign will offer a sense of renewed energy and identity, he said.

This initiative also comes with good tidings since the company last week reported strong showings, having recently closed its fiscal year 1999.

The company rebounded from disappointing showings in recent years with revenue for the fourth quarter ended 31 October up by 10 per cent compared to a year ago to reach $US11.4 billion, bringing HP's total fiscal year 1999 revenues to $US42.4 billion, up 7 per cent from 1998.

According to its former chairman Lew Platt, HP suffered some hard times in 1997 and 1998 which he attributed to Asia's financial crisis, the company's "missing the Internet", and "because we were not out touting ourselves as an Internet player".

But HP seems on the track to recovery with its Asia-Pacific revenues up 25 per cent in fiscal year 1999 to $US5.6 billion.

Fiscal year 1999 was really a "crisis management year" for the region, having just come off from the recession, Cheah noted, adding that 2000 will see some "exciting times" with the economy picking up steam again.

Singapore in particular, is HP's "rock", contributing 45 per cent of its total business in South Asia, and boasting a strong showing in manufacturing where the turnover grew 19 per cent over last year to $US5.9 billion, he said.

High growth areas in this segment include home PCs, home printers, inkjet supplies, and network servers, he noted.

The new "reinvented" HP also has high hopes that its key focus on delivering services over the Internet will yield positive results.

"We're trying not to be too product-centric . . . what we're more excited about is services," he said, noting that it is the services that "drives the box".

HP's IT services (including e-services) business currently accounts for approximately 15 to 16 per cent of its total business in South Asia, he added, noting that the company is keen to grow that number to approximately 30 to 40 per cent.

"There's no dominant service company today . . . so that's what we're driving towards," Cheah said, and reiterated HP CEO Carleton Fiorina's aim to focus on e-services, in particular, E-speak, a HP-developed technology designed to allow information to be easily exchanged between Web sites.

"E-speak is the technology we think will change the world," Cheah said.

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