Business

Compaq sweats, gets Inspiration

Could be worse, could be Perspiration

The company formerly known as The Big Q and also known as Compaq, is re-branding itself yet again, next Monday, with a fantastic advertising campaign that flies in the face of history and literature.

Monday, it will unveil a whole new series of advertisements claiming that "Inspiration is the Number One Cause of Greatness", with a reddish background, strangely reminiscent of the colour DEC used when it changed from being Little Blue to Big Maroon.

The advert will show a little boy launching a paper glider into the sky, with blue sky and fluffy clouds in the background, and is intended to reposition Compaq.

This is what Michael J Capellas is telling everyone (except The Reg, which only has sources close to Compaq).

"To: Compaq Worldwide Team

"Next week is a very important week for everyone at Compaq. We've worked hard and sweated a lot this past year. We've sharpened our strategy, accelerated innovation and delivered a lot of 'cool stuff.' Our business is back on track. Now we're ready to communicate, in a more compelling and consistent way, who we are and what we stand for.

"On Monday, we will formally launch a bold new image of Compaq - one that reflects the evolution of our business strategy, the expansion of our solutions capabilities, and our determination to lead the transformation of computing and communications in the Internet age. I want to briefly update you on the cornerstone of this communication effort - our new, global Brand initiative.

"Compaq has strong Brand recognition - a name that's known around the world. But we need to enhance and extend our Brand to properly represent the breadth and depth of this company. A powerful Brand, and the equity it creates, is an extremely valuable asset that serves multiple purposes:

"•It helps differentiate a company's products by effectively communicating the unique benefits customers want.

"•It defines our relationship with - and our commitment to - customers and partners.

"•It symbolizes and promises customers both Compaq quality and Compaq value.

"In essence it helps personify the heart and soul of our business and the reason our business exists. Bottom line: a strong Brand helps build a competitive advantage for all our businesses.

"Building and sustaining a strong Compaq Brand involves a great deal more than creating new ad campaigns or changing our logo. It showcases the evolution of our corporate strategy. Monday in San Francisco, Compaq senior managers are meeting with industry analysts to discuss our vision for the future and further define our strategy for delivering that vision.

"We will share that strategy with you later next week.

"For many of you, the first visible sign of our new Brand initiative will be the advertising, which begins in Monday's Wall Street Journal. In the weeks ahead, you'll see a new Compaq Brand identity reflected in many places and in many ways. You'll see it in our promotional brochures, our product packaging, our customer presentations, our call centers and more.

"The first phase of our advertising campaign begins to roll out in the US and Canada. The rest of the world will launch this new advertising in mid-October. The tagline we will use in our advertising and promotional materials is Welcome to the new IT - Inspiration Technology from Compaq.

"Let me briefly explain the thinking behind this new and distinctive positioning. By listening to our customers we've learned that technology is not an end in itself, but a means to inspire individuals and businesses to reach their full potential. To help make this possible, Compaq provides the tools and intellectual horsepower that customers apply, in profound ways, to unleash the creativity of the human mind and spirit.

"We believe the true differentiator in any business is the person - not just the technology. What counts most is what each individual can aspire to achieve with technology and the results they deliver. Every one of our customers has a powerful story to tell about how technology has truly made a difference in their businesses and their personal lives. As we roll out our Branding campaign, we will share these stories with the rest of the world - stories that demonstrate how real people are using innovative Compaq technology, products and services to help them go beyond the limits of information technology.

"We also will share with you in more detail our Brand image and strategy in the days to come. Each of us needs to both understand and embody Compaq's Brand promise. Why? Because each of us - individually and as teams - brings the Brand and the company's strategy to life by adding value for our customers.

"We will hold an "all managers" communication meeting Thursday, October 12, to update the worldwide management team on our Corporate and Brand strategies. The presentations from that meeting will be videotaped and rebroadcast for all employees from October 12 through October 16. Details about these meetings will be communicated shortly.

"We have a great story to tell. Thanks to your hard work during the past year, we've established credibility and momentum in the marketplace. The new Brand campaign will play a major role in leveraging your efforts and accelerating our progress.

"We believe Compaq is the best place to turn to - the best partner to work with - for the IT solutions that customers need to meet the challenges and opportunities in this digital age. Now, we're ready to let the world know, in a clear and compelling way, just how great Compaq can help them become.

"I'm excited about this new campaign because it really captures the Compaq I know - the spirit of innovation... the commitment to customer success...the belief that people, enabled by great technology, can achieve great things. I'm confident you will feel the same way.

"Michael"

Cough. That's when he speaks briefly. Just wait until he really starts speaking. It will be enough to wag off the tail of a donkey. Compaq, the Great Satan of Perspiration, closed up sixty two cents on Wall Street yesterday, to scale the dizzying heights of $29.0599.

And just before Q brings it down, you can temporarily view the advertisement here. ®

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