Dell Uses Community to Support Rebrand of Its IT Services Unit

Dell has put digital at the heart of a rebranding campaign that will combine its enterprise IT offerings with those of Perot Systems, which it acquired last year. The merged unit now operates under the name Dell Services.

Over half the marketing spend for Dell’s new “Wide Open” initiative will go to interactive channels – mainly search, social/community, and B2B display media – in a bid to drive awareness of the new identity.

On social platforms, Dell’s initial strategy is aimed at getting team members to spread the word. On Facebook for instance, it created something called “Services Avatar Week,” encouraging staffers to change their Facebook profile photos to one of numerous images created specifically for the campaign. Those images consist of single-color panels emblazoned with catch-phrases like “Human Think Tank” and “I Get Things Done.” The Dell Services Facebook page has just over 1,000 fans.

The company also hopes its resident experts will evangelize the new brand through their considerable social media followings. For example, Harry Greenspun, MD, chief medical officer for Dell Services healthcare group, has more than 1,600 Twitter followers – many of them presumably with budget control at hospitals and other medical establishments.

However VP of Marketing Atul Vohra noted Dell does not insist its in-house thought leaders and staff members spread its marketing gospel.

“I’d be lying to you if we had these guys coordinated like a Swiss watch,” he said. “We want them to be what they are. They are employees of Dell, but they are independent thought leaders.”

Additionally, Dell plans to launch a community site this summer that will feature examples of “Wide Open” thinking and solutions. While it will offer up Dell’s own case studies, the company says the more exciting aspect is that users will be asked to submit their own examples and invited to share content through their existing social networks.

The “Wide Open” media buy includes display ad placements on BusinessWeek.com, CNBC.com, and other business media destinations. Dell is also targeting online healthcare-related properties to drive awareness of its specialized solutions for that vertical. Total spending wasn’t disclosed.

Follow Zachary Rodgers on Twitter at @zachrodgers.

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