How Hewlett Packard Enterprise Was Born | HPE's New Mission Statement

October 6, 2015 • Blog Post • By Todd Wasserman, HPE Matter Contributor

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IN THIS ARTICLE

  • When HP announced its split in October 2014, the leadership knew it was important to pave a new path for the separate companies, while still honoring its legacy
  • The HPE marketing team took three important branding lessons from the separation: make the logo simple but unique, don't run from the company's history and align the brand to the corporate mission

Experts share advice on how to successfully rebrand a company

As a future-focused entity, Hewlett Packard Enterprise - the new company that came out of the Hewlett-Packard separation - had to toe the line between pointing to a bold future while acknowledging the brand's storied past. On October 6, 2014, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman announced that the company would be separating into two companies: HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, with the former comprising HP's printing and personal systems business and the latter carrying on the company's enterprise technology infrastructure, software and services businesses. The separation completed on November 1, 2015.

Crafting a separate identity

For Hewlett Packard Enterprise and global branding agency Siegel + Gale, the marketing challenge was to create something new and distinct, both from HP Inc. and the competition. "Initially, we had to differentiate not only from the existing HP and its 75-year heritage, but also from what HP Inc. would be", says Susan Popper, SVP of marketing at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. "We had a lot to do to create that differentiation, both in terms of how we positioned ourselves and also visually". In the new Hewlett Packard Enterprise brand, the color green was chosen to make the company stand out in a sea of blue tech industry logos. "Green is a color that symbolizes life and growth", says Howard Belk, co-CEO and chief creative officer of Siegel + Gale. "And growth is a big part of the story". The striking rectangle logo was designed to evoke transparency and possibility, and as Whitman noted, for the first time in history, the two "t's" in "Hewlett" now connect to symbolize partnership.

Accelerated timeline

Belk says five years ago, his company might have had as long as a year to create a branding strategy and logo. In this case, the agency had about 45 days to develop a market strategy and positioning plan, and then another 45 days to craft the visual treatment. "The pace of business now is so fast that any team thats creating something like this has to keep up. Everyone is moving at breakneck speed". What's the advice for other marketers considering an identity change? Belk says that designers should mimic the pace of software engineers. "Have teams working in parallel, iterating quickly in a 'test, fail, improve' mindset", he says. That said, the creative process of forming a new brand identity has challenges that are distinct from coding. Below are some hard-earned lessons that the Hewlett Packard Enterprise team learned over the course of the brands redesign.

1. Make the logo simple but unique This is the primary challenge in creating a logo, particularly one that's designed to be displayed in many countries and formats. For Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the solution was to use a distinctive color (green) and visual treatment (rectangle) that stood out.

2. Don't run from history Rebrands should not take on the "out with the old, in with the new" mentality as a company's heritage provides credibility and can calm existing stakeholders who may be afraid of change. Successful rebrands begin with a nod to the past - noting the company's journey to where they are today - but look ahead to the future.

3. Align to a new corporate mission A new brand presents a unique opportunity to build a new company culture to match. Greg Mason, CEO of digital content provider Purch, stated in a recent Entrepreneur article, "Defining what's most important to your company from the top down, both internally and externally, will form the backbone of your new identity." The simplicity of the Hewlett Packard Enterprise logo expresses the agility and focus of the new company. It's a promise of sorts that's also a challenge to individuals within the company who are reminded every day to live up to it.

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