Dell launches new outreach campaign

Dell launch of a line of colored notebooks this week was at least partially inspired by its customer forums at Ideastorm.com.

Dell launch of a line of colored notebooks this week was at least partially inspired by its customer forums at Ideastorm.com.

Bob Kaufman, a spokesman for Dell, said the campaign was based on customer feedback, mostly drawn from the company's brainstorming Web site Ideastorm.com and other forums.  "We are providing the canvas for customers to do whatever it is they want to do, whenever and wherever," he said.

Dell named the notebook colors with monikers like sunshine yellow, espresso, and flamingo pink.  The campaign will also offer users opportunities for increased Web connectivity, and back-up storage space. The notebooks were part of its "Yours is Here" campaign, which launched June 26. 

A fashion show spotlighting the new hues at Macy's flagship store in New York served as the campaign launchpad, and a Dell Lounge, featuring the products, was temporarily added to the department store.

Other PR efforts include media outreach, expanding the company's retail strategy, and featuring the campaign on park benches and city buses.  A Web site called DellLounge.com will list events and product news.  Kaufman said upcoming product launches and communications efforts will coordinate with shopping cycles like the back-to-school season and the holidays.  He declined to give the campaign's budget, but said "a good amount of resources are being put behind this." 

The launch has garnered substantial media coverage, but many of the news reports have noted that Dell's traditionally bland design has put the company behind competitors like Hewlett Packard and industry trendsetter -- Apple.

"I think there are always the naysayers out there, and I think that we'll let the marketplace decide how this progresses," Kaufman said. "We think our customers are going to be really excited by this."

He added, "This is very unusual and a different approach for Dell, and by that we hope our customers will see that we're trying to affect change."

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