Dell's new campaign highlights entrepreneur 'heroes'

SINGAPORE: A significant PR push behind Dell's first global campaign for its SMB unit aims to broaden the conversation about the company beyond the IT crowd.

SINGAPORE: A significant PR push behind Dell's first global campaign for its small and medium business (SMB) unit aims to broaden the conversation about the company beyond the IT crowd.

The “Take Your Own Path” campaign stars entrepreneurs who have used Dell technology to help make their businesses a success. The entrepreneurs—or “local heroes," as Dell has dubbed them—will be featured in outdoor, print and broadcast ads, as well as a microsite, www.takeyourownpath.com. The campaign launched in the US, Japan, Germany, China, and the UK, following its initial success in India and France. In the US, local "heroes" include Reid Hoffman, founder and CEO of LinkedIn, and Tony Wheeler, founder of the Lonely Planet guidebooks.

With the help of its agency Enfatico, the 13-person global PR team aims to connect journalists with these heroes, a strategy aimed at helping Dell expand into more general interest publications. “We want to broaden our exposure, whether it's in more mainstream magazines or the Sunday editions of the newspapers around the world where they talk about more business issues,” Faith Brewitt, Dell's director of global SMB communications, told PRWeek. “We want to get away from IT reviews only.”

That is particularly important among SMBs, because Dell research shows that these companies make purchase decisions “based on peers and friends and from reading ‘normal' publications” like Fortune, Forbes and Fast Company, said Brewitt. “Research shows that medium and small businesses don't make purchase decisions based on analyst white papers.”

To further expand the reach of the campaign, the PR team is using Dell's social media presence—on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—to engage SMBs in these success stories. The entrepreneurs will also share their stories at small business events worldwide, such as theInc. 500 conference in Washington, DC, later this month.

Brewitt said Dell might also explore the possibility of becoming involved with SMB associations and organizations that the local heroes are a part of. “Some of the local heroes belong where we don't, and we belong where they may not yet, so we are also looking into that as an area of getting deeper into the community and telling the story,” she said.

The campaign might expand into additional markets, including Canada. The PR group has played a key role in helping determine which Dell customers to feature in the ads. While Dell sales teams provided the leads, “where we came in was to say, ‘What makes a good hero?' It is not just about how much you buy,” Brewitt said. “We reminded the teams in these countries that it is about… how they use technology differently to make them successful in their industry versus someone else.”

 

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