When the iconic “Intel Inside” campaign launched in 1991 to educate retail sales associates and consumers about the value of Intel microprocessors, it didn’t just send a charge through the electrical component industry, it also fueled the spectacular rise of the Intel brand. That the campaign persevered for more two decades is a credit to its ingenuity and relevance. However, as company executives have noted, it also kept the focus inward, on the “engine” of a computer, and not on the products and services Intel technology enables.
To bridge that gap for consumers in fun, unambiguous ways, the company recently debuted a new campaign with the tagline “Amazing Experiences Outside.” From sports to gaming to entertainment, the campaign underscores the critical role of Intel technology in driving everyday experiences and connections across the globe.
Intel CMO Steve Fund, who will speak at the 2017 ANA Brand Masters Conference, Feb. 15 - 17 in Dana Point, Calif., shared his thoughts on the transformation of the Intel brand.
Q. Intel is one of the most valuable global brands, according to Forbes. Please talk about the importance of adapting the brand to meet the needs of today’s customers.
A. Intel has tremendous equity in the word “Inside,” but we were not doing enough to connect our technology “Inside” to the product experience outside. We talk about this as “letting the Inside out.” It manifested itself in our new tagline. We have also been associated primarily with the PC, but our company has evolved pretty significantly beyond that and is a leader in many areas of computing and technology. For example, most people don’t know that 98 percent of the cloud runs on Intel. So we needed to continue to develop our brand to tell the full Intel story that supports our entire portfolio, including emerging technologies like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, 5G, and autonomous driving.
Q. What role do customers play in influencing Intel’s brand evolution? How do you make them feel part of the brand?
A. Using Millennials as an example of an audience we want to reach, we integrated our technology into their core passion points — music, sports, entertainment, and gaming — to create amazing new experiences. We believe you need to be where the target is most receptive to your message, at the right time, and to integrate your product in an authentic way that brings to life your brand promise, which in our case is “Intel Makes Amazing Experiences Possible.” We make sure to create shareable content from all our brand activations so our consumers can become advocates.
One recent example of this was the X Games Austin 2016, where during the Intel BMX Dirt competition riders’ bikes were outfitted with an Intel Curie-powered module to track real-time athlete data such as in-air rotations, jump height, jump distance, speed, and force on landing. The data streamed live as the athlete performed, improving the fan experience both at home and live in Austin. This was an example of our ongoing effort to digitize the sports experience.
Q. You believe there’s a powerful connection between brand and business. Why is that?
A. It’s been proven time and time again that when you build your business you build your brand, and when you build your brand you build your business. There are countless examples of companies that no longer exist or are about to go under because of a weak brand. On the other hand, there are also countless examples of companies that can maintain price premiums or whose value far exceeds their tangible assets because of their brand strength and potential.
Q. How do you evaluate and optimize brand health?
A. We monitor and analyze everything. Every campaign, every execution — literally, every dollar spent. In addition, we have longitudinal brand tracking across the globe and across consumer and business segments. We also look at several external sources related to brand health and brand value. We constantly adjust our marketing mix and spending to yield the greatest return for Intel.
Q. You have worked for some of the most respected companies in the world, including Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, and Staples. What commonalities do these companies share?
A. I believe the core tenets of brand-building and marketing transcend industries and companies. I’ve been able to reapply learning in terms of what works and what doesn’t work throughout my career. I’ve been fortunate to work for leading companies in consumer packaged goods, retail, and technology, and have had extensive practical experience across the spectrum of the marketing mix, with both consumers and business customers across the world. Marketing starts with understanding your “who,” no matter if it’s a consumer or a business customer. You can only be successful if you fully understand their needs and motivations.