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Posts Tagged ‘Dell’

Can the ‘Dell Dude’ Save the Brand?

How much influence does a brand spokesman really have? For example, would we still hate GEICO with a violent passion even if we’d never seen that stupid lizard? Maybe.

But sometimes struggling brands need to play up the nostalgia. We can all agree that Dell, famous maker of crappy computers, is on a bit of a downslide, but actor Ben Curtis–who made a name for himself as the brand’s slacker spokesman during the early 00′s before confirming all sorts of negative stereotypes by getting himself arrested for trying to buy marijuana while wearing a kilt–thinks he knows what the company needs to do: rehire the “Dell dude!”

In his own words, “American loves a comeback, and nothing would be better for Dell than to bring back the face of their company.”

His proposal: reposition Dell, long seen as the go-to option for kids entering college or companies that don’t want to spend too much on in-house tech, as a mature company making products for mature people. Create a series of ads that highlight the perpetual college student’s move into the corporate world, casting him as an outsider in a business suit and showing how he manages to succeed thanks to all his great Dell products.

Would this plan work? We can all joke about an actor reaching for 15 more minutes of fame, but seriously: How would you remake Dell?

One final, fitting note: Despite Curtis’s love for the brand that gave him a career, he identifies as a proud Mac user.

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How Is IBM America’s ‘Greenest Company?’

After reading The New York Times expose about the incredible amounts of energy wasted in the data centers of “environmentally friendly” Internet juggernauts like Facebook and Google, we have to admit we’re a little surprised to learn that tech brands dominate Newsweek’s list of the “greenest” companies in America year after year.

This year, in fact, IBM and Hewlett-Packard retained the top two spots, followed by Sprint Nextel and Dell. We had to check our calendars: Is it 2012 or 1997?

How did IBM achieve its somewhat enviable position atop the green heap? We won’t get into Newsweek’s extensive methodology, but the report notes two particular projects: The Smarter Planet initiative helps IBM clients analyze their consumption of resources in order to make for more environmentally efficient businesses, but we’re more interested in the company’s Zurich Research Laboratory.

In 2008, the Swiss techies pioneered a “zero carbon emission data center” that works by redirecting the massive amounts of waste heat generated by all those buzzing hard drives and using it to regulate the temperatures of buildings and create a “municipal heating network”. Most importantly, the system uses the heat to more efficiently cool the chips themselves–so IBM truly recycles its own energy.

OK, that’s pretty cool.

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Apple’s Win: Beginning of the End for PC’s?

You’ve probably heard that Apple won their big copyright infringement suit against Samsung. Their victory was, in fact, overwhelming—but how did it change the current tech landscape?

We feel like the verdict made Google sweat, but they seem to think that they’ll be fine since most of the claims  “don’t relate to the core Android operating system.” And while Samsung will have to make some big changes in key product lines (especially as they begin new rollouts), they’ve labeled the financial losses “manageable.”

So who were the biggest losers? Dell and Hewlett-Packard, the world’s top producers of personal computers.

While these two former heavyweights weren’t directly involved in the case, its conclusions only served to re-emphasize how quickly they’re falling from their former perches atop the tech heap. The message: The iPhone, tablets and touch-based computing are the future, while traditional PCs are a fast-fading thing of the past. Color us shocked!

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Apple on Foxconn: We’re Doing Better, See?!

Apple won a small reprieve on the matter of its biggest PR problem this week as the Fair Labor Association announced that the tech giant has slightly improved conditions at its now-infamous Foxconn plants in mainland China. The catch? Auditors stress that “the toughest tasks lay ahead.”

Prodded into action by pressure over a series of not-quite-positive stories in The New York Times, Apple has taken some steps to improve its standing among global labor advocates by reducing hours, raising wages and, apparently, improving general work conditions from “suicide-inducing” to “somehow tolerable!”

This is what we call progress. But it’s not like Apple really had a choice in the matter.

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Reputations, Digital, and Job Opportunities at the Arthur Page Conference

In addition to announcing a new corp comms model, the Arthur W. Page Society is having a spring conference in NYC that wraps up today. Yesterday, I sat in on the “CEO Spotlight,” which was placed on healthcare/pharmaceutical company Novartis.

Novartis faces a dilemma, according to CEO Joe Jimenez. “We’re ranked first as Fortune magazine’s most admired pharmaceutical company, but the whole industry suffers from a poor reputation,” he said. He bemoaned that “public trust of pharma even ranks below oil and tobacco.”

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Dell Will Let You Know How Integrated You Are

This week Dell launched the Corporate Social Media Interactive Assessment, a tool that analyzes how well a company is listening and engaging with audiences, how integrated the listening process is, and how much the company is benefiting from its spending on things like staff. Filling out the survey will generate an infographic with personalized details.

The Assessment grew out of research Dell conducted with Forrester Consulting — Listening and Engaging in the Digital Marketing Age. The study of 200 U.S. marketers at medium and large companies found that many companies are actively using social media (sometimes more than traditional listening methods) for a variety of purposes, including as a feedback generator from consumers. And that information is being used across the business.

Interesting (though fitting) that Dell would launch this tool. More than anything, it reminds other companies of the need to monitor and respond to what’s happening on social media and other channels. Earlier this week, Business Wire and MyMediaInfo released a couple of new monitoring tools that might be of some help in this area.

Dell Targets IT Pros with October Event

 

From October 12 through 14, Dell World 2011 will host IT decisionmakers at an inaugural conference in Austin, TX aimed at this niche group. While some conferences, tech-specific or otherwise, tout their colossalness with attendance figures in the tens of thousands, this conference is purposely staying small.

“This is going to get specific,” said Russell Fujioka, VP of marketing for Dell’s public and large enterprise area. He told us today that the conference is intentionally capping attendance at about 1,200. “Anyone who can attend is going to see leaders in proximity that they’ve never seen before,” he added.

Laser-targeting this group for this event is one of the attractions.

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Dell Streak Launches with a Slow-Action Video

This just makes us happy happy. Check out this cool video to promote the new Dell Streak hybrid smartphone/tablet created by Ogilvy PR Japan. It has what videos need to tally a ton of views – cool look, great moves, good-looking guys in suits.

[Via AgencySpy.]

Dell Launching Social Media Listening Command Center

Dell is launching the Social Media Listening Command Center today, two months after the VP of social media and community Manish Mehta announced the plan at Altimeter’s Rise of Social Commerce Conference, Mashable reports.

The Center will be based in Dell’s Austin HQ and will use Radian6 for data collecting. It will be part of the company’s @Dellcares customer care and tech support program, following more than 22,000 daily mentions of Dell across social media.

The story likens the new Dell center to Gatorade’s Social Media Command Center. It’s surprising they didn’t have this sooner.

[Image via Mashable.]

Dell Chief Blogger: ‘Isolated’ Social Media Efforts Won’t Lead to ‘Long Term Success’

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Dell Chief Blogger Lionel Menchaca provides a nice and brief overview of the company’s social media efforts in a blog post today. Dell’s strategy has changed from, “connecting and responding to customers and just making social media work,” to “thinking about Dell and community has evolved beyond simply driving customers to our own sites to connecting those conversations where they happen on the web (and in the real world too).”

As Menchaca notes, “For Dell (or any company for that matter), isolated social media efforts won’t lead to long-term success in this space.”

Dell had to learn the hard way, but now they are often cited as a case study in terms of developing a brand’s social presence. [h/t David Armano]