Dell Powers Up Global Small-Biz Push

NEW YORK Dell next week will introduce the first global campaign for its Small and Medium Business unit. Dubbed “Take your own path,” the push will feature stories of real customers in an effort to rebrand Dell as the complete solutions provider for small and midsize businesses.

The IT provider unveiled the campaign Thursday at a press event in New York, where some of its customers were present to share their experiences. They include small businesses like SewWhat, Endeavor and TecAccess, whose founders are featured in the new ads.

“Most companies are choosing celebrities to represent their brands. Our celebrities are our customers,” said Paul-Henri Ferrand, Dell’s vp of global marketing and strategy. “The campaign looks at entrepreneurs, the challenges they have and how they succeeded by using Dell technology.”

The effort, which premiered in India and debuts in the U.S. on Sept. 8, includes print, outdoor, broadcast and a major online component. A microsite,, will offer resources to SMBs and will spotlight Dell’s featured customers and their stories. (While the site is currently live, it is targeted at the Indian market.)

The initiative is also being promoted on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Dell’s social network, Direct2Dell, among other social media outlets. A Dell rep said the company hopes to encourage dialog among its 30,000-plus fans on
Facebook, for example.

Dell didn’t disclose the cost of the campaign, but Ferrand said the company is spending a significant amount because it’s the first such effort for its SMB unit. “The big change for us is that we are focusing on pure branding,” said Ferrand. “In the U.S., we want to change [Dell’s] image — that Dell is more than just a PC company.”

Ferrand added that Dell’s objective is to become the No. 1 SMB technology provider. Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, said competitors like Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and IBM share a similar goal with Dell. Given the economy, large enterprises have frozen IT purchases, while consumers and SMBs are still buying, according to Enderle.

“Dell has an advantage over the others because historically, SMBs used to be their strong point and they’re able to scale down,” Enderle said. “And [by featuring real customers in ads], Dell is appealing to the SMB market where reference sales are very common. If executed correctly, the result can be very powerful.”

The work was crafted by Enfatico, part of WPP’s Y&R Brands.

The campaign will run for three months in the U.S., Japan, Germany, China and the U.K., in addition to the existing efforts in India and France.

Nielsen Business Media