Beat the Downtime
As part of a global strategic shift to technology services and consulting, Hewlett-Packard TS (Technology Services) Bulgaria asked Ardency Consulting to work on communications strategy that will position HP as a business problems solver through the means of ICT technology. While with best in industry brand awareness, HP Bulgaria is more associated with consumer and out-of-the-box products than business/ICT solutions and consulting. As a result HP was having difficulties talking to business decision makers such as CEO, CFO, COO.
As part of the Ardency Consulting's communications strategy, HP agreed to launch the program with a high-level business forum addressed to most senior business decision makers. The event, organized on June 6, 2010, was on business continuity and mission critical processes topics. Event communications goals were:
Draw stakeholders' attention to business continuity and create awareness among business community for HP tech services and consulting ü Position HP's as leading TS provider and gain thought leadership by demostrating competence and know-how in mission critical business processes and technological services ü Re-ignite positive customer relationships wtih current customers and introduce HP TS Bulgaria's director to business community, prospects and leads Generate positive word of mouth among all stakeholders and share of media mind
HP Bulgaria was not positioned as a credible “business processes consultant” such as IBM and lacked the credibility to conduct a high level forum on business topics. Ardency Consulting proposed HP to partner on this project with reputable international business consultancy such as Deloitte that can be credible on the business message while HP focuses on ICT messages – thus transferring brand equity from Deloitte to HP. In order to succeed, the strategic partnership must be implemented in all project stages including media relations, not only at the day of the event.
Few project elements will enhance HP positioning – speakers with top international know-how, reputable moderators, and event branding. Event’s concept will be a one-day high level business forum, including keynotes, real-world case studies, and an interactive part in the form of moderated discussion and Q&A session. Firstly, Deloite and HP will “educate” audience on business continuity and advanced strategies; in the second part HP customers will present case studies and finally – audience wll ineract with speakers and peers through a moderated discussion. Partners agreed to arrange for international speakers at highest possible level in their organizations with Deloitte providing its European leader for Internal Audit Services and European business continuity guru and HP – the regional head for mission critical services. Welcome speeches were made by Deloitte Bulgaria’s president, HP Bulgaria’s CEO and HP regional head.
The event’s brand communicated both the HP’s strategic message as a “solutions company” as well as the event’s topic. Moderators and hosts were the management editor of the most prestigious business magazine in Bulgaria – “Manager” together with the head of HP TS Bulgaria.
Senior managers from two industry leaders - Globul, a leading telecom, and Lukoil, biggest energy company in Bulgaria, showed how they deploy business continuity strategies and HP solutions to support mission critical processes. Finally – speakers and business leaders discussed business continuity topics and audience had the opportunity for questions and answers session.
Ardency Consulting devised an innovative 3-stage communications strategy to take full advantage of the event and that allowed for a month of consistent media relations: first stage was to warm-up stakeholders on business continuity topic with one-to-one interviews of HP and Deloitte mission critical team leaders; second stage – media relations during the event with interviews and press release and finally – a week after the event, Ardency Consulting pushed to media latest HP mission critical solutions and offerings. The heads of Deloitte’s business continuity consulting and head of HP TS were both pitched as competence leaders and perfect match of business and ICT know-how and media loved it; they were together in all interviews. Message – Ardency Consulting used proprietary HP and Deloitte insight and research to develop a media outreach with the main message: “93% from the companies with more than 10 days of interruption of core business processes are out of business within a year”.
In less than two months Ardency Consulting went from an idea to implementation. Ardency Consulting developed the event concept and pitched it to Deloitte Bulgaria. Deloitte liked it and the Ardency team organized a number of work meetings to coordinate the project.
Ardency Consulting chose the place, coordinated date, developed the “Beat the Downtime” – An HP forum for sustainable business processes brand and created all especialy designed for the event information materials, including stationery, keynotes, event scenario, hall branding and multimedia.
Ardency team pitched media and organized interviews on the business continuity topics before and during the event. Ardency Consulting developed all press materials, including messages, story angles, media pitch, two press releases and assistance during interviews.
Ardency Consulting conducted a direct marketing campaign in both print and e-mail, including follow-up, to invite senior business and public sector leaders, media, and influencers such as ICT analysts. The day before the event all participants took part in rehersal and Ardency Consulting managed event’s logistics, directing and media relations. Ardency Consulting provided give-aways for every participant – the management guru Tom Peters’ book “Re-imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age.”
With only 10 000 EUR budget, Ardency Consulting managed a two-month project from the idea to concept and implementation, including information materials production, media relations, partners management and logistics.
The event was a great success as HP has required around 80 senior decision makers and in a working day there were more than 100 business leaders, including CEO's of leading banks, energy companies, telecoms, and utlities. All major business media covered the event with interviews of the speakers and HP TS Bulgaria's head, including a two-page material in PARI business daily. Folowing the success, HP and Deloitte further developed their partnership into common acquisitions and projects. They went from Beat the Downtime forum to real business projects. In January 2011, after the annual HP Bulgaria country review, HP regional management announced that HP Bulgaria's TS marketing in 2010, including Beat the Downtime event, is best in the region and HP will benchmark it for implementation in the other countries; HP Bulgaria will follow-up with another event in 2011.